Shoot growth dynamics and photosynthetic response to increased nitrogen availability in the alpine willow salix-glauca

BOWMAN, WD & CONANT, RT (1994) Shoot growth dynamics and photosynthetic response to increased nitrogen availability in the alpine willow salix-glauca. Oecologia, 97(1), pp. 93-99.

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Plants subjected to increases in the supply of resource(s) limiting growth may allocate more of those resources to existing leaves, increasing photosynthetic capacity, and/or to production of more leaves, increasing whole-plant photosynthesis. The responses of three populations of the alpine willow, Salix glauca, growing along an alpine topographic sequence representing a gradient in soil moisture and organic matter, and thus potential N supply, to N amendments, were measured over two growing seasons, to elucidate patterns of leaf versus shoot photosynthetic responses. Leaf-(foliar N, photosynthesis rates, photosynthetic N-use efficiency) and shoot-(leaf area per shoot, number of leaves per shoot, stem weight, N resorption efficiency) level measurements were made to examine the spatial and temporal variation in these potential responses to increased N availability. The predominant response of the willows to N fertilization was at the shoot-level, by production of greater leaf area per shoot. Greater leaf area occurred due to production of larger leaves in both years of the experiment and to production of more leaves during the second year of fertilization treatment. Significant leaf-level photosynthetic response occurred only during the first year of treatment, and only in the dry meadow population. Variation in photosynthesis rates was related more to variation in stomatal conductance than to foliar N concentration. Stomatal conductance in turn was significantly related to N fertilization. Differences among the populations in photosynthesis, foliar N, leaf production, and responses to N fertilization indicate N availability may be lowest in the dry meadow population, and highest in the ridge population. This result is contrary to the hypothesis that a gradient of plant available N corresponds with a snowpack/topographic gradient.

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ID Code: 37792
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1432-1939
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > ECOLOGY (060200)
Divisions: Past > Institutes > Institute for Sustainable Resources
Deposited On: 07 Oct 2010 04:25
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 14:54

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