Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands

Elsa E. Cleland, Eric M. Lind, Nicole M. DeCrappeo, Elizabeth DeLorenze, Rachel Abbott Wilkins, Peter B. Adler, Jonathan D. Bakker, Cynthia S. Brown, Kendi F. Davies, Ellen Esch, Jennifer Firn, Scott Gressard, Daniel S. Gruner, Nicole Hagenah, W. Stanley Harpole, Yann Hautier, Sarah E. Hobbie, Kirsten S. Hofmockel, Kevin Kirkman, Johannes Knops & 15 others Christopher W. Kopp, Kimberly J. La Pierre, Andrew MacDougall, Rebecca L. McCulley, Brett A. Melbourne, Joslin L. Moore, Suzanne M. Prober, Charlotte Riggs, Anita C. Risch, Martin Schuetz, Carly Stevens, Peter D. Wragg, Justin Wright, Elizabeth T. Borer, Eric W. Seabloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Anthropogenic activities are increasing nutrient inputs to ecosystems worldwide, with consequences for global carbon and nutrient cycles. Recent meta-analyses show that aboveground primary production is often co-limited by multiple nutrients; however, little is known about how root production responds to changes in nutrient availability. At twenty-nine grassland sites on four continents, we quantified shallow root biomass responses to nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium plus micronutrient enrichment and compared below- and aboveground responses. We hypothesized that optimal allocation theory would predict context dependence in root biomass responses to nutrient enrichment, given variation among sites in the resources limiting to plant growth (specifically light versus nutrients). Consistent with the predictions of optimal allocation theory, the proportion of total biomass belowground declined with N or P addition, due to increased biomass aboveground (for N and P) and decreased biomass belowground (N, particularly in sites with low canopy light penetration). Absolute root biomass increased with N addition where light was abundant at the soil surface, but declined in sites where the grassland canopy intercepted a large proportion of incoming light. These results demonstrate that belowground responses to changes in resource supply can differ strongly from aboveground responses, which could significantly modify predictions of future rates of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Our results also highlight how optimal allocation theory developed for individual plants may help predict belowground biomass responses to nutrient enrichment at the ecosystem scale across wide climatic and environmental gradients.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalEcosystems
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • belowground biomass
  • fertilization
  • nitrogen
  • Nutrient Network
  • optimal allocation
  • phosphorus
  • roots

Cite this

Cleland, E. E., Lind, E. M., DeCrappeo, N. M., DeLorenze, E., Wilkins, R. A., Adler, P. B., ... Seabloom, E. W. (Accepted/In press). Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands. Ecosystems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-019-00350-4
Cleland, Elsa E. ; Lind, Eric M. ; DeCrappeo, Nicole M. ; DeLorenze, Elizabeth ; Wilkins, Rachel Abbott ; Adler, Peter B. ; Bakker, Jonathan D. ; Brown, Cynthia S. ; Davies, Kendi F. ; Esch, Ellen ; Firn, Jennifer ; Gressard, Scott ; Gruner, Daniel S. ; Hagenah, Nicole ; Harpole, W. Stanley ; Hautier, Yann ; Hobbie, Sarah E. ; Hofmockel, Kirsten S. ; Kirkman, Kevin ; Knops, Johannes ; Kopp, Christopher W. ; La Pierre, Kimberly J. ; MacDougall, Andrew ; McCulley, Rebecca L. ; Melbourne, Brett A. ; Moore, Joslin L. ; Prober, Suzanne M. ; Riggs, Charlotte ; Risch, Anita C. ; Schuetz, Martin ; Stevens, Carly ; Wragg, Peter D. ; Wright, Justin ; Borer, Elizabeth T. ; Seabloom, Eric W. / Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands. In: Ecosystems. 2019.
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title = "Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands",
abstract = "Anthropogenic activities are increasing nutrient inputs to ecosystems worldwide, with consequences for global carbon and nutrient cycles. Recent meta-analyses show that aboveground primary production is often co-limited by multiple nutrients; however, little is known about how root production responds to changes in nutrient availability. At twenty-nine grassland sites on four continents, we quantified shallow root biomass responses to nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium plus micronutrient enrichment and compared below- and aboveground responses. We hypothesized that optimal allocation theory would predict context dependence in root biomass responses to nutrient enrichment, given variation among sites in the resources limiting to plant growth (specifically light versus nutrients). Consistent with the predictions of optimal allocation theory, the proportion of total biomass belowground declined with N or P addition, due to increased biomass aboveground (for N and P) and decreased biomass belowground (N, particularly in sites with low canopy light penetration). Absolute root biomass increased with N addition where light was abundant at the soil surface, but declined in sites where the grassland canopy intercepted a large proportion of incoming light. These results demonstrate that belowground responses to changes in resource supply can differ strongly from aboveground responses, which could significantly modify predictions of future rates of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Our results also highlight how optimal allocation theory developed for individual plants may help predict belowground biomass responses to nutrient enrichment at the ecosystem scale across wide climatic and environmental gradients.",
keywords = "belowground biomass, fertilization, nitrogen, Nutrient Network, optimal allocation, phosphorus, roots",
author = "Cleland, {Elsa E.} and Lind, {Eric M.} and DeCrappeo, {Nicole M.} and Elizabeth DeLorenze and Wilkins, {Rachel Abbott} and Adler, {Peter B.} and Bakker, {Jonathan D.} and Brown, {Cynthia S.} and Davies, {Kendi F.} and Ellen Esch and Jennifer Firn and Scott Gressard and Gruner, {Daniel S.} and Nicole Hagenah and Harpole, {W. Stanley} and Yann Hautier and Hobbie, {Sarah E.} and Hofmockel, {Kirsten S.} and Kevin Kirkman and Johannes Knops and Kopp, {Christopher W.} and {La Pierre}, {Kimberly J.} and Andrew MacDougall and McCulley, {Rebecca L.} and Melbourne, {Brett A.} and Moore, {Joslin L.} and Prober, {Suzanne M.} and Charlotte Riggs and Risch, {Anita C.} and Martin Schuetz and Carly Stevens and Wragg, {Peter D.} and Justin Wright and Borer, {Elizabeth T.} and Seabloom, {Eric W.}",
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language = "English",
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Cleland, EE, Lind, EM, DeCrappeo, NM, DeLorenze, E, Wilkins, RA, Adler, PB, Bakker, JD, Brown, CS, Davies, KF, Esch, E, Firn, J, Gressard, S, Gruner, DS, Hagenah, N, Harpole, WS, Hautier, Y, Hobbie, SE, Hofmockel, KS, Kirkman, K, Knops, J, Kopp, CW, La Pierre, KJ, MacDougall, A, McCulley, RL, Melbourne, BA, Moore, JL, Prober, SM, Riggs, C, Risch, AC, Schuetz, M, Stevens, C, Wragg, PD, Wright, J, Borer, ET & Seabloom, EW 2019, 'Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands' Ecosystems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-019-00350-4

Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands. / Cleland, Elsa E.; Lind, Eric M.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; DeLorenze, Elizabeth; Wilkins, Rachel Abbott; Adler, Peter B.; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Brown, Cynthia S.; Davies, Kendi F.; Esch, Ellen; Firn, Jennifer; Gressard, Scott; Gruner, Daniel S.; Hagenah, Nicole; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hautier, Yann; Hobbie, Sarah E.; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Kirkman, Kevin; Knops, Johannes; Kopp, Christopher W.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; MacDougall, Andrew; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Moore, Joslin L.; Prober, Suzanne M.; Riggs, Charlotte; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Stevens, Carly; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.

In: Ecosystems, 11.03.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands

AU - Cleland, Elsa E.

AU - Lind, Eric M.

AU - DeCrappeo, Nicole M.

AU - DeLorenze, Elizabeth

AU - Wilkins, Rachel Abbott

AU - Adler, Peter B.

AU - Bakker, Jonathan D.

AU - Brown, Cynthia S.

AU - Davies, Kendi F.

AU - Esch, Ellen

AU - Firn, Jennifer

AU - Gressard, Scott

AU - Gruner, Daniel S.

AU - Hagenah, Nicole

AU - Harpole, W. Stanley

AU - Hautier, Yann

AU - Hobbie, Sarah E.

AU - Hofmockel, Kirsten S.

AU - Kirkman, Kevin

AU - Knops, Johannes

AU - Kopp, Christopher W.

AU - La Pierre, Kimberly J.

AU - MacDougall, Andrew

AU - McCulley, Rebecca L.

AU - Melbourne, Brett A.

AU - Moore, Joslin L.

AU - Prober, Suzanne M.

AU - Riggs, Charlotte

AU - Risch, Anita C.

AU - Schuetz, Martin

AU - Stevens, Carly

AU - Wragg, Peter D.

AU - Wright, Justin

AU - Borer, Elizabeth T.

AU - Seabloom, Eric W.

PY - 2019/3/11

Y1 - 2019/3/11

N2 - Anthropogenic activities are increasing nutrient inputs to ecosystems worldwide, with consequences for global carbon and nutrient cycles. Recent meta-analyses show that aboveground primary production is often co-limited by multiple nutrients; however, little is known about how root production responds to changes in nutrient availability. At twenty-nine grassland sites on four continents, we quantified shallow root biomass responses to nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium plus micronutrient enrichment and compared below- and aboveground responses. We hypothesized that optimal allocation theory would predict context dependence in root biomass responses to nutrient enrichment, given variation among sites in the resources limiting to plant growth (specifically light versus nutrients). Consistent with the predictions of optimal allocation theory, the proportion of total biomass belowground declined with N or P addition, due to increased biomass aboveground (for N and P) and decreased biomass belowground (N, particularly in sites with low canopy light penetration). Absolute root biomass increased with N addition where light was abundant at the soil surface, but declined in sites where the grassland canopy intercepted a large proportion of incoming light. These results demonstrate that belowground responses to changes in resource supply can differ strongly from aboveground responses, which could significantly modify predictions of future rates of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Our results also highlight how optimal allocation theory developed for individual plants may help predict belowground biomass responses to nutrient enrichment at the ecosystem scale across wide climatic and environmental gradients.

AB - Anthropogenic activities are increasing nutrient inputs to ecosystems worldwide, with consequences for global carbon and nutrient cycles. Recent meta-analyses show that aboveground primary production is often co-limited by multiple nutrients; however, little is known about how root production responds to changes in nutrient availability. At twenty-nine grassland sites on four continents, we quantified shallow root biomass responses to nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium plus micronutrient enrichment and compared below- and aboveground responses. We hypothesized that optimal allocation theory would predict context dependence in root biomass responses to nutrient enrichment, given variation among sites in the resources limiting to plant growth (specifically light versus nutrients). Consistent with the predictions of optimal allocation theory, the proportion of total biomass belowground declined with N or P addition, due to increased biomass aboveground (for N and P) and decreased biomass belowground (N, particularly in sites with low canopy light penetration). Absolute root biomass increased with N addition where light was abundant at the soil surface, but declined in sites where the grassland canopy intercepted a large proportion of incoming light. These results demonstrate that belowground responses to changes in resource supply can differ strongly from aboveground responses, which could significantly modify predictions of future rates of nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Our results also highlight how optimal allocation theory developed for individual plants may help predict belowground biomass responses to nutrient enrichment at the ecosystem scale across wide climatic and environmental gradients.

KW - belowground biomass

KW - fertilization

KW - nitrogen

KW - Nutrient Network

KW - optimal allocation

KW - phosphorus

KW - roots

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U2 - 10.1007/s10021-019-00350-4

DO - 10.1007/s10021-019-00350-4

M3 - Article

JO - Ecosystems

JF - Ecosystems

SN - 1432-9840

ER -