Many studies have reported that increasing atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition broadens N:phosphorus (P) in both soils and plant leaves and potentially intensifies P limitation for plants. However, few studies have tested whether P addition alleviates N-induced P limitation for plant belowground growth. It is also less known how changed N:P in soils and leaves affect plant belowground stoichiometry, which is significant for maintaining key belowground ecological processes. We conducted a multi-level N:P supply experiment (varied P levels combined with constant N amount) for Glycyrrhiza uralensis (a N fixing species) and Pennisetum centrasiaticum (a grass) from a desert steppe in Northwest China during 2011–2013. Results showed that increasing P addition increased the belowground biomass and P concentrations of both species, resulting in the decreases in belowground carbon (C):P and N:P. These results indicate that P inputs alleviated N-induced P limitation and hence stimulated belowground growth. Belowground C:N:P stoichiometry of both species, especially P. centrasiaticum, tightly linked to soil and green leaf C:N:P stoichiometry. Thus, the decoupling of C:N:P ratios in both soils and leaves under a changing climate could directly alter plant belowground stoichiometry, which will in turn have important feedbacks to primary productivity and C sequestration.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2018
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