Tissue nutrient signatures predict herbaceous-wetland community responses to nutrient availability

Willby, N.J., Pulford, I.D. and Flowers, T.H. (2001) Tissue nutrient signatures predict herbaceous-wetland community responses to nutrient availability. New Phytologist, 152(3), pp. 463-481. (doi: 10.1046/j.0028-646X.2001.00274.x)

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• An extensive survey of European wetlands was undertaken to compare the importance of growing conditions vs functional characteristics of vegetation in determining N, P and K contents. • Stress-tolerator dominated stands (S) had consistently lower nutrient contents and higher N : P ratios whereas ruderal-dominated (R) stands displayed the opposite pattern. Competitor (C) and competitor-stress tolerator (CS) stands were intermediate to R and S. • These patterns were mostly preserved after removing covariation between vegetation and environment, thus indicating constitutional differences in nutrient signatures between functionally differentiated vegetation. C and R stands were least likely to be nutrient limited. Half of the S stands were probably P-limited but C, CS and R stands rarely or never experienced P limitation. Inferred colimitation by K was twice as frequent in S stands compared with other vegetation. • This study extends the evidence for syndromes of traits closely linked to nutrient use efficiency that increase fitness under particular growing conditions. It also highlights patterns at a community level across a wide range of wetland types and suggests that tissue nutrient signatures will have diagnostic value in predicting community responses to perturbation in nutrient availability.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pulford, Dr Ian and Flowers, Dr Hugh
Authors: Willby, N.J., Pulford, I.D., and Flowers, T.H.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:New Phytologist
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN (Online):1469-8137
Published Online:06 April 2002

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
233141Nutrient Concentrations in Wetland Vegetation - relationships with Reduced Metal Contcentrations and State VariablesIan PulfordNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)GR9/03534CHEM - CHEMISTRY