Nitrogen deposition alters nitrogen cycling and reduces soil carbon content in low-productivity semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems

Raúl Ochoa-Hueso, Fernando T. Maestre, Asunción De Los Ríos, Sergio Valea, Mark R. Theobald, Marta G. Vivanco, Esteban Manrique, Matthew A Bowker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Anthropogenic N deposition poses a threat to European Mediterranean ecosystems. We combined data from an extant N deposition gradient (4.3-7.3 kg N ha-1 yr-1) from semiarid areas of Spain and a field experiment in central Spain to evaluate N deposition effects on soil fertility, function and cyanobacteria community. Soil organic N did not increase along the extant gradient. Nitrogen fixation decreased along existing and experimental N deposition gradients, a result possibly related to compositional shifts in soil cyanobacteria community. Net ammonification and nitrification (which dominated N-mineralization) were reduced and increased, respectively, by N fertilization, suggesting alterations in the N cycle. Soil organic C content, C:N ratios and the activity of β-glucosidase decreased along the extant gradient in most locations. Our results suggest that semiarid soils in low-productivity sites are unable to store additional N inputs, and that are also unable to mitigate increasing C emissions when experiencing increased N deposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume179
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Ecosystems
Ecosystem
Nitrogen
Soil
Carbon
Productivity
Soils
Cyanobacteria
Spain
Nitrogen fixation
Glucosidases
Nitrification
Nitrogen Fixation
Fertilization
Fertility
Experiments

Keywords

  • C and N cycling
  • Enzyme activities
  • Extant N gradient
  • Fertilization experiment
  • Soil cyanobacteria community
  • Soil organic C and N content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology

Cite this

Nitrogen deposition alters nitrogen cycling and reduces soil carbon content in low-productivity semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems. / Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl; Maestre, Fernando T.; De Los Ríos, Asunción; Valea, Sergio; Theobald, Mark R.; Vivanco, Marta G.; Manrique, Esteban; Bowker, Matthew A.

In: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 179, 2013, p. 185-193.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl ; Maestre, Fernando T. ; De Los Ríos, Asunción ; Valea, Sergio ; Theobald, Mark R. ; Vivanco, Marta G. ; Manrique, Esteban ; Bowker, Matthew A. / Nitrogen deposition alters nitrogen cycling and reduces soil carbon content in low-productivity semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems. In: Environmental Pollution. 2013 ; Vol. 179. pp. 185-193.
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AU - Theobald, Mark R.

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