Temporal dynamics of phosphorus during aquatic and terrestrial litter decomposition in an alpine forest

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  • Yan Peng, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst, Univ Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, Dept Geosci & Nat Resource Management
  • ,
  • Wanqin Yang, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst
  • ,
  • Kai Yue
  • Bo Tan, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst
  • ,
  • Chunping Huang, Sichuan Normal Univ, Sichuan Normal University, Coll Life Sci
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  • Zhenfeng Xu, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst
  • ,
  • Xiangyin Ni, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst
  • ,
  • Li Zhang, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst
  • ,
  • Fuzhong Wu, Sichuan Agr Univ, Sichuan Agricultural University, Inst Ecol & Forestry, Prov Key Lab Ecol Forestry Engn, Long Term Res Stn Alpine Forest Ecosyst

Plant litter decomposition in forested soil and watershed is an important source of phosphorus (P) for plants in forest ecosystems. Understanding P dynamics during litter decomposition in forested aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be of great importance for better understanding nutrient cycling across forest landscape. However, despite massive studies addressing litter decomposition have been carried out, generalizations across aqua tic and terrestrial ecosystems regarding the temporal dynamics of P loss during litter decomposition remain elusive. We conducted a two-year field experiment using litterbag method in both aquatic (streams and riparian zones) and terrestrial (forest floors) ecosystems in an alpine forest on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. By using multigroup comparisons of structural equation modeling (SEM) method with different litter mass-loss intervals, we explicitly assessed the direct and indirect effects of several biotic and abiotic drivers on P loss across different decomposition stages. The results suggested that (1) P concentration in decomposing litter showed similar patterns of early increase and later decrease across different species and ecosystems types; (2) P loss shared a common hierarchy of drivers across different ecosystems types, with litter chemical dynamics mainly having direct effects but environment and initial litter quality having both direct and indirect effects; (3) when assessing at the temporal scale, the effects of initial litter quality appeared to increase in late decomposition stages, while litter chemical dynamics showed consistent significant effects almost in all decomposition stages across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; (4) microbial diversity showed significant effects on P loss, but its effects were lower compared with other drivers. Our results highlight the importance of including spatiotemporal variations and indicate the possibility of integrating aquatic and terrestrial decomposition into a common framework for future construction of models that account for the temporal dynamics of P in decomposing litter. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume642
Pages (from-to)832-841
Number of pages10
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018

    Research areas

  • P loss, Decomposition stages, Environmental factors, Utter quality, Microbes, Structural equation modeling, GEL-ELECTROPHORESIS ANALYSIS, EASTERN TIBETAN PLATEAU, FOLIAR LITTER, LEAF-LITTER, CANADIAN FORESTS, COMMUNITIES, CLIMATE, DIVERSITY, GRADIENT, PATTERNS

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