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Title: Nitrogen mineralization across an atmospheric nitrogen deposition gradient in Southern California deserts

Author: Rao, L.E.; Parker, D.R.; Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Allen, E.B.;

Date: 2009

Source: Journal of Arid Environments. 73(10): 920-930

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


Dry nitrogen deposition is common in arid ecosystems near urban and agricultural centers, yet its impacts on natural environments are relatively understudied. We examined the effects of N deposition on soil N mineralization across a depositional gradient at Joshua Tree National Park. We hypothesized that N deposition affects N mineralization by promoting exotic grass invasion and increasing soil carbon and nitrogen. These relationships were tested through a laboratory incubation on soils collected from sixteen sites where atmospheric N, soil characteristics, and annual vegetation were measured. Mineralization parameters modeled using the Gompertz model were compared to soil C, soil N, estimated soil N from deposition, and percent cover of exotic and native annuals. Calculated soil N from deposition was directly correlated with measured soil C and N and decreasing C:N ratios, which were associated with increased total amounts of mineralized N. However, no effects of soil C or N, and thus N deposition, were observed on mineralization rates. Exotic grasses, but not native forbs or total annual cover, increased with soil C, soil N, and total mineralized N, suggesting that exotic grasses and N deposition are correlated and associated with increasing total C and N in the interspace soils at polluted locations.

Keywords: Decomposition, Invasive grass, Mineralization model, Mojave, Nutrients, Sonoran

Publication Notes:

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Rao, L.E.; Parker, D.R.; Bytnerowicz, A.; Allen, E.B. 2009. Nitrogen mineralization across an atmospheric nitrogen deposition gradient in Southern California deserts. Journal of Arid Environments. 73(10): 920-930.


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