Advanced

Interactive effects of vegetation type and elevation on aboveground and belowground properties in a subarctic tundra

Sundqvist, Maja K.; Giesler, Reiner; Graae, Bente J.; Wallander, Håkan LU ; Fogelberg, Elisabeth and Wardle, David A. (2011) In Oikos 120(1). p.128-142
Abstract
An improved knowledge of how contrasting types of plant communities and their associated soil biota differ in their responses to climatic variables is important for better understanding the future impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Elevational gradients serve as powerful study systems for answering questions on how ecological processes can be affected by changes in temperature and associated climatic variables. In this study, we evaluated how plant and soil microbial communities, and abiotic soil properties, change with increasing elevation in subarctic tundra in northern Sweden, for each of two dominant but highly contrasting vegetation types, namely heath (dominated by woody dwarf shrubs) and meadow (dominated by... (More)
An improved knowledge of how contrasting types of plant communities and their associated soil biota differ in their responses to climatic variables is important for better understanding the future impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Elevational gradients serve as powerful study systems for answering questions on how ecological processes can be affected by changes in temperature and associated climatic variables. In this study, we evaluated how plant and soil microbial communities, and abiotic soil properties, change with increasing elevation in subarctic tundra in northern Sweden, for each of two dominant but highly contrasting vegetation types, namely heath (dominated by woody dwarf shrubs) and meadow (dominated by herbaceous species). To achieve this, we measured plant community characteristics, microbial community properties and several soil abiotic properties for both vegetation types across an elevation gradient of 500 to 1000 m. We found that the two vegetation types differed not only in several above- and belowground properties, but also in how these properties responded to elevation, pointing to important interactive effects between vegetation type and elevation. Specifically, for the heath, available soil nitrogen and phosphorus decreased with elevation whereas fungal dominance increased, while for the meadow, idiosyncratic responses to elevation for these variables were found. These differences in belowground responses to elevation among vegetation types were linked to shifts in the species and functional group composition of the vegetation. Our results highlight that these two dominant vegetation types in subarctic tundra differ greatly not only in fundamental aboveground and belowground properties, but also in how these properties respond to elevation and are therefore likely to be influenced by temperature. As such they highlight that vegetation type, and the soil abiotic properties that determine this, may serve as powerful determinants of how both aboveground and belowground properties respond to strong environmental gradients. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Oikos
volume
120
issue
1
pages
128 - 142
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000285388800014
  • scopus:78650201061
ISSN
1600-0706
DOI
10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18811.x
project
BECC
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
6ccd2721-0494-44a3-9c06-593902448618 (old id 1773845)
date added to LUP
2011-02-01 10:37:37
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:04:12
@article{6ccd2721-0494-44a3-9c06-593902448618,
  abstract     = {An improved knowledge of how contrasting types of plant communities and their associated soil biota differ in their responses to climatic variables is important for better understanding the future impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Elevational gradients serve as powerful study systems for answering questions on how ecological processes can be affected by changes in temperature and associated climatic variables. In this study, we evaluated how plant and soil microbial communities, and abiotic soil properties, change with increasing elevation in subarctic tundra in northern Sweden, for each of two dominant but highly contrasting vegetation types, namely heath (dominated by woody dwarf shrubs) and meadow (dominated by herbaceous species). To achieve this, we measured plant community characteristics, microbial community properties and several soil abiotic properties for both vegetation types across an elevation gradient of 500 to 1000 m. We found that the two vegetation types differed not only in several above- and belowground properties, but also in how these properties responded to elevation, pointing to important interactive effects between vegetation type and elevation. Specifically, for the heath, available soil nitrogen and phosphorus decreased with elevation whereas fungal dominance increased, while for the meadow, idiosyncratic responses to elevation for these variables were found. These differences in belowground responses to elevation among vegetation types were linked to shifts in the species and functional group composition of the vegetation. Our results highlight that these two dominant vegetation types in subarctic tundra differ greatly not only in fundamental aboveground and belowground properties, but also in how these properties respond to elevation and are therefore likely to be influenced by temperature. As such they highlight that vegetation type, and the soil abiotic properties that determine this, may serve as powerful determinants of how both aboveground and belowground properties respond to strong environmental gradients.},
  author       = {Sundqvist, Maja K. and Giesler, Reiner and Graae, Bente J. and Wallander, Håkan and Fogelberg, Elisabeth and Wardle, David A.},
  issn         = {1600-0706},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {128--142},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Oikos},
  title        = {Interactive effects of vegetation type and elevation on aboveground and belowground properties in a subarctic tundra},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18811.x},
  volume       = {120},
  year         = {2011},
}