Nutrient availability affects pigment production but not growth in lichens of biological soil crusts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent research suggests that micronutrients such as Mn may limit growth of slow-growing biological soil crusts (BSCs) in some of the drylands of the world. These soil surface communities contribute strongly to arid ecosystem function and are easily degraded, creating a need for new restoration tools. The possibility that Mn fertilization could be used as a restoration tool for BSCs has not been tested previously. We used microcosms in a controlled greenhouse setting to investigate the hypothesis that Mn may limit photosynthesis and consequently growth in Collema tenax, a dominant N-fixing lichen found in BSCs worldwide. We found no evidence to support our hypothesis; furthermore, addition of other nutrients (primarily P, K, and Zn) had a suppressive effect on gross photosynthesis (P = 0.05). We also monitored the growth and physiological status of our microcosms and found that other nutrients increased the production of scytonemin, an important sunscreen pigment, but only when not added with Mn (P = 0.01). A structural equation model indicated that this effect was independent of any photosynthesis-related variable. We propose two alternative hypotheses to account for this pattern: (1) Mn suppresses processes needed to produce scytonemin; and (2) Mn is required to suppress scytonemin production at low light, when it is an unnecessary photosynthate sink. Although Mn fertilization does not appear likely to increase photosynthesis or growth of Collema, it could have a role in survivorship during environmentally stressful periods due to modification of scytonemin production. Thus, Mn enrichment should be studied further for its potential to facilitate BSC rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2819-2826
Number of pages8
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume40
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Fingerprint

soil crusts
soil crust
Lichens
nutrient availability
lichen
lichens
Photosynthesis
pigment
photosynthesis
Soil
Collema
pigments
Food
Growth
microcosm
Fertilization
nutrient
photosynthates
nutrients
ecosystem function

Keywords

  • Arid lands
  • Cryptogams
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Ecological restoration
  • Fatty acids
  • Micronutrient limitation
  • Stress tolerance
  • Structural equation model
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Microbiology

Cite this

@article{b255e3e2ec3041d49df71e2b18670d4b,
title = "Nutrient availability affects pigment production but not growth in lichens of biological soil crusts",
abstract = "Recent research suggests that micronutrients such as Mn may limit growth of slow-growing biological soil crusts (BSCs) in some of the drylands of the world. These soil surface communities contribute strongly to arid ecosystem function and are easily degraded, creating a need for new restoration tools. The possibility that Mn fertilization could be used as a restoration tool for BSCs has not been tested previously. We used microcosms in a controlled greenhouse setting to investigate the hypothesis that Mn may limit photosynthesis and consequently growth in Collema tenax, a dominant N-fixing lichen found in BSCs worldwide. We found no evidence to support our hypothesis; furthermore, addition of other nutrients (primarily P, K, and Zn) had a suppressive effect on gross photosynthesis (P = 0.05). We also monitored the growth and physiological status of our microcosms and found that other nutrients increased the production of scytonemin, an important sunscreen pigment, but only when not added with Mn (P = 0.01). A structural equation model indicated that this effect was independent of any photosynthesis-related variable. We propose two alternative hypotheses to account for this pattern: (1) Mn suppresses processes needed to produce scytonemin; and (2) Mn is required to suppress scytonemin production at low light, when it is an unnecessary photosynthate sink. Although Mn fertilization does not appear likely to increase photosynthesis or growth of Collema, it could have a role in survivorship during environmentally stressful periods due to modification of scytonemin production. Thus, Mn enrichment should be studied further for its potential to facilitate BSC rehabilitation.",
keywords = "Arid lands, Cryptogams, Cyanobacteria, Ecological restoration, Fatty acids, Micronutrient limitation, Stress tolerance, Structural equation model, Symbiosis",
author = "Bowker, {Matthew A} and Koch, {George W} and Jayne Belnap and Nancy Johnson",
year = "2008",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.08.002",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "40",
pages = "2819--2826",
journal = "Soil Biology and Biochemistry",
issn = "0038-0717",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "11",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Nutrient availability affects pigment production but not growth in lichens of biological soil crusts

AU - Bowker, Matthew A

AU - Koch, George W

AU - Belnap, Jayne

AU - Johnson, Nancy

PY - 2008/11

Y1 - 2008/11

N2 - Recent research suggests that micronutrients such as Mn may limit growth of slow-growing biological soil crusts (BSCs) in some of the drylands of the world. These soil surface communities contribute strongly to arid ecosystem function and are easily degraded, creating a need for new restoration tools. The possibility that Mn fertilization could be used as a restoration tool for BSCs has not been tested previously. We used microcosms in a controlled greenhouse setting to investigate the hypothesis that Mn may limit photosynthesis and consequently growth in Collema tenax, a dominant N-fixing lichen found in BSCs worldwide. We found no evidence to support our hypothesis; furthermore, addition of other nutrients (primarily P, K, and Zn) had a suppressive effect on gross photosynthesis (P = 0.05). We also monitored the growth and physiological status of our microcosms and found that other nutrients increased the production of scytonemin, an important sunscreen pigment, but only when not added with Mn (P = 0.01). A structural equation model indicated that this effect was independent of any photosynthesis-related variable. We propose two alternative hypotheses to account for this pattern: (1) Mn suppresses processes needed to produce scytonemin; and (2) Mn is required to suppress scytonemin production at low light, when it is an unnecessary photosynthate sink. Although Mn fertilization does not appear likely to increase photosynthesis or growth of Collema, it could have a role in survivorship during environmentally stressful periods due to modification of scytonemin production. Thus, Mn enrichment should be studied further for its potential to facilitate BSC rehabilitation.

AB - Recent research suggests that micronutrients such as Mn may limit growth of slow-growing biological soil crusts (BSCs) in some of the drylands of the world. These soil surface communities contribute strongly to arid ecosystem function and are easily degraded, creating a need for new restoration tools. The possibility that Mn fertilization could be used as a restoration tool for BSCs has not been tested previously. We used microcosms in a controlled greenhouse setting to investigate the hypothesis that Mn may limit photosynthesis and consequently growth in Collema tenax, a dominant N-fixing lichen found in BSCs worldwide. We found no evidence to support our hypothesis; furthermore, addition of other nutrients (primarily P, K, and Zn) had a suppressive effect on gross photosynthesis (P = 0.05). We also monitored the growth and physiological status of our microcosms and found that other nutrients increased the production of scytonemin, an important sunscreen pigment, but only when not added with Mn (P = 0.01). A structural equation model indicated that this effect was independent of any photosynthesis-related variable. We propose two alternative hypotheses to account for this pattern: (1) Mn suppresses processes needed to produce scytonemin; and (2) Mn is required to suppress scytonemin production at low light, when it is an unnecessary photosynthate sink. Although Mn fertilization does not appear likely to increase photosynthesis or growth of Collema, it could have a role in survivorship during environmentally stressful periods due to modification of scytonemin production. Thus, Mn enrichment should be studied further for its potential to facilitate BSC rehabilitation.

KW - Arid lands

KW - Cryptogams

KW - Cyanobacteria

KW - Ecological restoration

KW - Fatty acids

KW - Micronutrient limitation

KW - Stress tolerance

KW - Structural equation model

KW - Symbiosis

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=53449095652&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=53449095652&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.08.002

DO - 10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.08.002

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:53449095652

VL - 40

SP - 2819

EP - 2826

JO - Soil Biology and Biochemistry

JF - Soil Biology and Biochemistry

SN - 0038-0717

IS - 11

ER -