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Response of fine root respiration to variations in biotic and abiotic factors in a mixed Mediterranean forest affected by drought-induced secondary succession
Pereira Blanco, Eva
Lloret Maya, Francisco; Curiel Yuste, Jorge; Barba Ferrer, Josep
Understanding the factors controlling fine root respiration (FRR) at different temporal scales will help to improve our knowledge about the spatial and temporal variability of soil respiration (SR) and to improve future predictions of CO2 effluxes to the atmosphere. Here we present a comparative study of how FRR respond to variability in soil temperature and moisture in two widely spread species, Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Holm-oaks (HO; Quercus ilex L.). Those two species show contrasting water use strategies during the extreme summer-drought conditions that characterize the Mediterranean climate. The study was carried out on a mixed Mediterranean forest where Scots pines affected by drought induced die-back are slowly being replaced by the more drought resistant HO. FRR was measured in spring and early fall 2013 in excised roots freshly removed from the soil and collected under HO and under Scots pines at three different health stages: dead (D), defoliated (DP) and non-defoliated (NDP). Variations in soil temperature, soil water content and daily mean assimilation per tree were also recorded to evaluate FRR sensibility to abiotic and biotic environmental variations. Our results show that values of FRR were substantially lower under HO (1.26 ± 0.16 microgram CO2 /groot·min) than under living pines (1.89 ± 0.19 microgram CO2 /groot·min) which disagrees with the similar rates of soil respiration previously observed under both canopies and suggest that FRR contribution to total SR varies under different tree species. The similarity of FRR rates under HO and DP furthermore confirms other previous studies suggesting a recent Holm-oak root colonization of the gaps under dead trees. A linear mixed effect model approach indicated that seasonal variations in FRR were best explained by soil temperature (p<0.05) while soil moisture was not exerting any direct control over FRR, despite the low soil moisture values during the summer sampling. Plant assimilation rates were positively related to FRR explaining part of the observed variability (p<0.01). However the positive relations of FRR with plant assimilation occurred mainly during spring, when both soil moisture and plant assimilation rates were higher. Our results finally suggest that plants might be able to maintain relatively high rates of FRR during the sub-optimal abiotic and biotic summer conditions probably thanks to their capacity to re-mobilize carbon reserves and their capacity to passively move water from moister layers to upper layers with lower water potentials (where the FR were collected) by hydraulic lift.
574 - Ecologia general i biodiversitat
Sòls -- Humitat
Sòls -- Aspectes ambientals
Pinus sylvestris
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