Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment

Stahl V, Beyschlag W, Werner C (2011)
Plant and Soil 344(1-2): 389-400.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
In this study we investigated the temporal variability of N-source utilization of pioneer plant species in different early successional stages of dry acidic grasslands. Current theory states that plant species occupy distinct ecological niches and that there are species-specific, temporal N-uptake patterns. We hypothesized that small-scale dynamics in the natural habitat may affect niche differentiation among plant species. We investigated N-uptake patterns of two co-occurring plant species from different functional groups (Corynephorus canescens, Rumex acetosella) under natural conditions using N-15-labeled nitrate and ammonium in three different early successional stages during early and late summer. We found (1) marked seasonal dynamics with respect to N-uptake and N-source partitioning, and (2) different uptake rates across successional stages but a similar N-form utilization of both species. Nitrate was the main N-source in the early and later successional stages, but a shift towards enhanced ammonium uptake occurred at the cryptogam stage in June. Both species increased N-uptake in the later successional stage in June, which was associated with increasing plant biomass in C. canescens, whereas R. acetosella showed no significant differences in plant biomass and root/shoot-ratio between successional stages. Ammonium uptake decreased in both species across all stages with increasing drought. Nevertheless, the peak time of N-uptake differed between the successional stages: in the early successional site, with the lowest soil N, plants were able to extend N-uptake into the drier season when uptake rates in the other successional stages had already declined markedly. Hence, we found a pronounced adjustment in the realized niches of co-occurring plant species with respect to N-uptake. Our results indicate that ecological niches can be highly dynamic and that niche sharing between plant species may occur instead of niche partitioning.
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Stahl V, Beyschlag W, Werner C. Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment. Plant and Soil. 2011;344(1-2):389-400.
Stahl, V., Beyschlag, W., & Werner, C. (2011). Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment. Plant and Soil, 344(1-2), 389-400.
Stahl, V., Beyschlag, W., and Werner, C. (2011). Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment. Plant and Soil 344, 389-400.
Stahl, V., Beyschlag, W., & Werner, C., 2011. Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment. Plant and Soil, 344(1-2), p 389-400.
V. Stahl, W. Beyschlag, and C. Werner, “Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment”, Plant and Soil, vol. 344, 2011, pp. 389-400.
Stahl, V., Beyschlag, W., Werner, C.: Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment. Plant and Soil. 344, 389-400 (2011).
Stahl, Vanessa, Beyschlag, Wolfram, and Werner, Christiane. “Dynamic niche sharing in dry acidic grasslands -a N-15-labeling experiment”. Plant and Soil 344.1-2 (2011): 389-400.
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