Reconciling multiple impacts of nitrogen enrichment on soil carbon: plant, microbial and geochemical controls

Date
2018-08-01
Authors
Ye, Chenglong
Chen, Dima
Hall, Steven
Hall, Steven
Pan, Shang
Yan, Xuebin
Bai, Tongshuo
Guo, Hui
Zhang, Yi
Bai, Yongfei
Hu, Shuijin
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Abstract

Impacts of reactive nitrogen (N) inputs on ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics are highly variable, and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we proposed a new conceptual framework that integrates plant, microbial, and geochemical mechanisms to reconcile diverse and contrasting impacts of N on soil C. This framework was tested using long-term N enrichment and acid addition experiments in a Mongolian steppe grassland. Distinct mechanisms could explain effects of N on particulate and mineral-associated soil C pools, potentially explaining discrepancies among previous N addition studies. While plant production predominated particulate C changes, Ninduced soil acidification strongly affected mineral-associated C through decreased microbial growth and pH-sensitive associations between iron and aluminum minerals and C. Our findings suggest that effects of N-induced acidification on microbial activity and geochemical properties should be included in Earth system models that predict ecosystem C budgets under future N deposition/input scenarios.

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ye, Chenglong, Dima Chen, Steven J. Hall, Shang Pan, Xuebin Yan, Tongshuo Bai, Hui Guo, Yi Zhang, Yongfei Bai, and Shuijin Hu. "Reconciling multiple impacts of nitrogen enrichment on soil carbon: plant, microbial and geochemical controls." Ecology letters (2018) 21: 1162-1173, which has been published in final form at doi: 10.1111/ele.13083. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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