Recycling of nitrogen among segments of Hylocomium splendens as compared with Polytrichum commune: Implications for clonal integration in an ectohydric bryophyte
1999 (English)In: OIKOS, Vol. 86, no 1, 87-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Physiological integration in clonal plants, which can be assumed to be dependent on vascular connections among ramets, is associated with several potential benefits, especially in nutrient-poor environments. However, some experimental evidence indicates that ectohydric bryophytes, i.e. species lacking specialised tissues for internal water conduction, also have physiologically integrated ramets. We tested this hypothesis by analysing nitrogen dynamics and tracing movements of a 15 N label among interconnected ramets of the ectohydric Hylocomium splendens over one season. The observed patterns were compared with translocation patterns in Polytrichum commune, an endohydric species that is known to show a high degree of clonal integration. Our aims were (1) to evaluate the degree of physiological integration among segments in H. splendens and (2) to study whether the pattern of 15 N movement obtained matched those depicted by changes in total nitrogen pool size. Current-year segments (G0) of both species were identified as strong sinks for nitrogen owing to their considerable increase in the 15 N pool during the season. In P. commune all other segments types showed a net loss of 15 N from June to September, which was probably due to autumn resorption of nitrogen to subterranean structures. In H. splendens one-year-old segments (G1) increased their 15 N pool, while older green segments (G2+) lost 50% of their initially absorbed 15 N. All the label lost from these source segments could be recovered in G0 and G1 segments. We suppose that most of the recycled nitrogen is provided by degeneration of three-year-old segments, which turn brown in parallel with the reallocation of nitrogen during the season. The high degree of physiological integration in H. splendens is discussed with respect to its life history and ecosystem nitrogen cycling.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nordic Society Oikos , 1999. Vol. 86, no 1, 87-96 p.
Research subject Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37636DOI: 10.2307/3546572ISI: 000081267100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37636DiVA: diva2:847433