Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (1): 38-49.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0255

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of nitrogen addition on root dynamics in an alpine meadow, Northwestern Sichuan

ZI Hong-Biao,CHEN Yan,HU Lei,WANG Chang-Ting()   

  1. Institute of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Research, Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu 610041, China
  • Online:2018-01-20 Published:2018-03-08
  • Contact: Chang-Ting WANG
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(31370542);the National Basic Research Program (973 Program)(2013CBA01807);the Innovation Team Project of Education Office of Sichuan Province(14TD0049);the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(2018NZD13)

Abstract:

Aims Our aim was to characterize the effects of nitrogen (N) addition on plant root standing crop, production, mortality and turnover in an alpine meadow on the Northwestern plateau of Sichuan Province, China.

Methods A N addition experiment was conducted in an alpine meadow on the Northwestern plateau of Sichuan Province since 2012. Urea was applied at four levels: 0, 10, 20 and 30 g·m -2·a -1, referred to as CK, N10, N20 and N30. Root samples in surface (0-10 cm) and subsurface layers (10-20 cm) were observed using Minirhizotron from May 10th to Sept. 27th in 2015. The root standing crop, production, mortality and turnover rate were estimated using WinRHZIO Tron MF software. Repeated-measure ANOVA, one-way ANOVA and Pearson correlation were performed to analyze the effect of N addition on soil and root characteristics.

Important findings N addition significantly increased soil available N content and decreased soil pH value, but did not alter soil total N and SOM contents under all treatments. N addition did not exhibit any significant effects on the mean root standing crop and cumulative root production in the 0-10 cm, but significantly reduced mean root standing crop and cumulative root production in 10-20 cm soil layer by 195.3 and 142.3 g·m -2 (N10), 235.8 and 212.1 g·m -2 (N20) and 198.0 and 204.4 g·m -2(N30), respectively. The cumulative root mortality was significantly decreased by 206.1 g·m -2in N10 treatment and root turnover rate was significantly increased with 17% for N30 treatment at the 0-10 cm soil depth, but the cumulative root mortality and root turnover rate was not significantly different at 10-20 cm soil depth. In addition, cumulative root production, mortality and turnover rate in 0-10 cm soil layer were significantly correlated with the soil available N content, whereas no significant associations were observed in 10-20 cm soil. Taken together, these results demonstrate that N addition alters the soil N availability and thus induces the root dynamics and changes in root distribution as well as C allocation in alpine meadow.

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Key words: alpine meadow, nitrogen addition, plant roots, minirhizotron