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Interferences between Sphagnum and vascular plants: effects on plant community structure and peat formation

Malmer, Nils LU ; Albinsson, C; Svensson, B M and Wallén, Bo LU (2003) In Oikos 100(3). p.469-482
Abstract
The interference between vascular plants and peat mosses with respect to nitrogen and phosphorus was studied in a fertilization experiment and with respect to competition for light in a removal experiment in poor fens with either soligenous or topogenous hydrology using Narthecium ossifragum (L.) Huds. and three species of Sphagnum sect. Sphagnum as targets. Adding fertilizer either on the moss surface or below it confirmed the hypotheses of an asymmetric competition for nutrients, viz. that the Sphagnum mosses relied on the atmospheric supply while Narthecium depended on mineralization in the peat. The results of the removal experiments and the negatively correlated growth of Narthecium and Sphagnum mosses demonstrated a symmetric... (More)
The interference between vascular plants and peat mosses with respect to nitrogen and phosphorus was studied in a fertilization experiment and with respect to competition for light in a removal experiment in poor fens with either soligenous or topogenous hydrology using Narthecium ossifragum (L.) Huds. and three species of Sphagnum sect. Sphagnum as targets. Adding fertilizer either on the moss surface or below it confirmed the hypotheses of an asymmetric competition for nutrients, viz. that the Sphagnum mosses relied on the atmospheric supply while Narthecium depended on mineralization in the peat. The results of the removal experiments and the negatively correlated growth of Narthecium and Sphagnum mosses demonstrated a symmetric competition for light. The intensity of the competition for light increased as the availability of N and P increased. The nutrient resources in the total biomass decreased with decreasing standing crop of Narthecium. Only with a considerable amount of mineral nutrients in the biomass has Narthecium the capacity to grow ahead of Sphagnum, because the asymmetric competition for N and P gives Sphagnum the capacity to reduce the performance of vascular plants. The mosses are more efficient in their use of nutrients and produce a decay-resistant litter inducing low mineralization and increasing the peat accumulation rate, and that withdraws N and P from the rhizosphere. The Sphagnum mosses thus act as ecological engineers structuring the plant community and determining the carbon balance of the system. The development of ombrotrophic conditions through peat accumulation seems less probable on soligenous than on topogenous mires owing to the higher mineralization rate there supporting the growth of the vascular plants. Correspondingly, disturbances of the Sphagnum cover, such as through airborne pollutants, increase the productivity of the vascular plants and decrease the capacity for carbon accumulation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Oikos
volume
100
issue
3
pages
469 - 482
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000181963700006
  • scopus:0012476651
ISSN
1600-0706
DOI
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5d4de969-3b46-43a6-8bae-1d27db88b6cd (old id 137670)
date added to LUP
2007-07-02 12:17:45
date last changed
2018-05-29 10:37:57
@article{5d4de969-3b46-43a6-8bae-1d27db88b6cd,
  abstract     = {The interference between vascular plants and peat mosses with respect to nitrogen and phosphorus was studied in a fertilization experiment and with respect to competition for light in a removal experiment in poor fens with either soligenous or topogenous hydrology using Narthecium ossifragum (L.) Huds. and three species of Sphagnum sect. Sphagnum as targets. Adding fertilizer either on the moss surface or below it confirmed the hypotheses of an asymmetric competition for nutrients, viz. that the Sphagnum mosses relied on the atmospheric supply while Narthecium depended on mineralization in the peat. The results of the removal experiments and the negatively correlated growth of Narthecium and Sphagnum mosses demonstrated a symmetric competition for light. The intensity of the competition for light increased as the availability of N and P increased. The nutrient resources in the total biomass decreased with decreasing standing crop of Narthecium. Only with a considerable amount of mineral nutrients in the biomass has Narthecium the capacity to grow ahead of Sphagnum, because the asymmetric competition for N and P gives Sphagnum the capacity to reduce the performance of vascular plants. The mosses are more efficient in their use of nutrients and produce a decay-resistant litter inducing low mineralization and increasing the peat accumulation rate, and that withdraws N and P from the rhizosphere. The Sphagnum mosses thus act as ecological engineers structuring the plant community and determining the carbon balance of the system. The development of ombrotrophic conditions through peat accumulation seems less probable on soligenous than on topogenous mires owing to the higher mineralization rate there supporting the growth of the vascular plants. Correspondingly, disturbances of the Sphagnum cover, such as through airborne pollutants, increase the productivity of the vascular plants and decrease the capacity for carbon accumulation.},
  author       = {Malmer, Nils and Albinsson, C and Svensson, B M and Wallén, Bo},
  issn         = {1600-0706},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {469--482},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Oikos},
  title        = {Interferences between Sphagnum and vascular plants: effects on plant community structure and peat formation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/},
  volume       = {100},
  year         = {2003},
}