Dietrich, K; Spohn, M; Villamagua, M; Oelmann, Y: Nutrient addition affects net and gross mineralization of phosphorus in the organic layer of a tropical montane forest, Biogeochemistry, published online 10/2017 (2017), doi:10.1007/s10533-017-0392-z
In tropical ecosystems with highly weathered soils, transformation of organic phosphorus (P) to bioavailable inorganic P plays a crucial role for the nutrition of organisms. In these ecosystems, P is suspected to be growth-limiting and might therefore be affected by atmospheric nutrient depositions occurring even in remote areas, such as montane rainforests. We assessed effects of P and nitrogen (N) addition on net and gross P mineralization rates, and microbial P immobilization in the organic layer along an altitudinal gradient of a tropical montane rainforest in Ecuador. Net P mineralization rates amounted to 1.8 ± 0.9 (at 1000 m a.s.l.), 3.7 ± 0.6 (at 2000 m) and 2.0 ± 0.4 (at 3000 m) mg P kg-1 d-1. Altitudinal differences led to an increased microbial P immobilization at 1000 m, compensating for a higher gross P mineralization. P addition increased net P mineralization rates at 2000 m and 3000 m, suggesting a higher P demand at 1000 m. At higher altitudes, P likely was released as a by-product during organic matter decomposition. Gross P mineralization, determined by means of the isotopic dilution approach, could not be calculated for control and N treatments due to rapid microbial P immobilization. For P (+N) treatments, gross P mineralization rates were lowest at the 1000 m site towards the end of the long-term incubation period. Atmospheric P deposition in the tropics might lead to P fertilization effects through direct input as well as through acceleration of P release from organic matter, thereby increasing P availability for organisms.
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