Stable nitrogen isotopes (δ15N) have been determined in the organic matter (OM) of thalli of the lichen Hypogymnia physodes (L.) Nyl. collected at 15 levels along an altitudinal gradient (1250–2928 m a.s.l.) in forest and alpine meadow communities of the Khangai Plateau, Mongolia. The results show that, in the study region as a whole, no correlation between the δ15N content and elevation is observed. However, the lichen OM within the mountain forest belt is depleted of the heavy 15N isotope as elevation increases (from 1250 to 2400 m a.s.l.), whereas in the alpine meadow belt (2500–2928 m a.s.l) it is enriched with this isotope. In addition, δ15N values in OM show an inverse dependence on the relative content of total nitrogen in the thalli.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2012
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