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The impacts of nitrogen deposition on community N:P stoichiometry do not depend on phosphorus availability in a temperate meadow steppe
- Wang, Hong-Yi, Wang, Zheng-Wen, Ding, Rui, Hou, Shuang-Li, Yang, Guo-Jiao, Lü, Xiao-Tao, Han, Xing-Guo
- Environmental pollution 2018 v.242 pp. 82-89
- biomass, community structure, meadows, nitrogen, nitrogen content, nutrient content, phosphorus, plant communities, plant nutrition, steppes, stoichiometry
- Nitrogen (N) enrichment has great consequences on several fundamental ecological processes through its impacts on plant nutrition traits (i.e. nutrient concentration and stoichiometric ratios); however, the extent to which the effects of N enrichment depend on phosphorus (P) availability are less well understood. While there is mounting evidence for the species-specific responses of plant nutrition traits to nutrient enrichment, we know little about the changes at the community-level. Here, we measured community-level biomass weighted (CWM) and non-weighted (CM) plant N and P concentrations and N:P ratio in a temperate meadow steppe after four years factorial N and P addition, with biomass and nutrition traits of each species in each plot being recorded. Nitrogen addition significantly increased community-level N concentration, decreased P concentration, and enhanced community N:P ratio. Phosphorus addition had no impacts on community-level N concentration, significantly increased P concentration, and reduced community N:P ratio. The impacts of N addition on community nutrition traits were not dependent on P addition and the community-level nutrition trait responses to N and P additions were primarily driven by intraspecific trait variation (ITV) rather than by species turnover. Community-level nutrition traits in the temperate meadow steppe were sensitive to the projected N and P enrichment. While nutrient enrichment had substantially changed community composition, its impacts on community nutrition traits were driven by ITV. Nitrogen deposition would result in imbalance of N and P in plant community, as indicated by the substantial increase in community-level N:P, which was not affected by increased P availability.