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Gewählte Publikation:

Hietz, P., Wanek, W., Wania, R., Nadkarni, N.M..
(2002): Nitrogen-15 natural abundance in a montane cloud forest canopy as an indicator of nitrogen cycling and epiphyte nutrition.
Oecologia 131, 350-355, FullText FullText_BOKU

Nutrients obtained by epiphytes may either be of atmospheric origin or from organic matter in the canopy, which decomposes to form canopy soil on large branches. We hypothesised that the N supply for epiphytes on small branches was lower, and a larger proportion provided by rainwater, than for epiphytes rooting in canopy soil. We tested this by measuring the N concentration and isotopic composition in terrestrial and canopy soil and in various canopy compartments of a Costa Rican cloud forest. In general, epiphytes on small branches without canopy soil had lower N foliar concentrations and delta(15)N signals than plants rooted in canopy soil, suggesting that the former receive a higher proportion of N directly from the rain. Epiphytes on small branches also had less negative delta(13)C values, indicating more frequent water stress. Epiphytes had lower delta(15)N values (-3.9 +/- 2.3parts per thousand) than ground-rooted trees (-1.1 +/- 1.6parts per thousand), and canopy soil had lower values (0.7 +/- 1.2parts per thousand) than terrestrial soil (3.8 +/- 0.7parts per thousand). Assuming that the isotopic effect of terrestrial and canopy soil organic matter formation is similar, our findings support earlier results showing that canopy soil is derived mainly from epiphytes, with only minor inputs from host tree matter. Thus, the epiphyte N cycle appears to be largely detached from the tree-soil cycle. Epiphylls on leaves of understorey shrubs had higher delta(15)N signals than cryptogams in the upper canopy, as a result of either N-15 accumulation in throughfall or increased N-2 fixation. The correlation between epiphyll and understorey host leaf delta(15)N suggests some exchange of N between epiphylls and host leaves. Differences between epiphyte groups also appear to be related to uptake of N through mycorrhizas or N-2 fixation. Thus, the source and quantity of N supply is highly variable, depending on the systematic group and canopy position.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Hietz Peter
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Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
canopy soil
nutrient dynamics
tropical montane forest

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