nitrogen fixation

Greater Soil Carbon Sequestration under Nitrogen-Fixing Trees Compared with Eucalyptus Species

Resh, SC, D. Binkley, and JA Parrotta. 2002. Greater soil carbon sequestration under nitrogen-fixing trees compared with eucalyptus species RID A-2703-2010. Ecosystems 5 (3) (APR): 217-31.

Forests with nitrogen-fixing trees (N-fixers) typically accumulate more carbon (C) in soils than similar forests without N-fixing trees. This difference may develop from fundamentally different processes, with either greater accumulation of recently fixed C or reduced decomposition of older soil C. We compared the soil C pools under N-fixers with Eucalyptus (non-N-fixers) at four tropical sites: two sites on Andisol soils in Hawaii and two sites on Vertisol and Entisol soils in Puerto Rico. Using stable carbon isotope techniques, we tracked the loss of the old soil organic C from the previous C4 land use (SOC4) and the gain of new soil organic C from the C3, N-fixer, and non-N-fixer plantations (SOC3). Soils beneath N-fixing trees sequestered 0.11 + 0.07 kg m-2 y-' (mean ± one standard error) of total soil organic carbon (SOCT) compared with no change under Eucalyptus( 0.00 ± 0.07 kg m-2 y-1; P = 0.02). About 55% of the greater SOCT sequestration under the N-fixers resulted from greater retention of old SOC4, and 45% resulted from greater accretion of new SOC3. Soil N accretion under the N-fixers explained 62% of the variability of the greater retention of old SOC4 under the N-fixers. The greater retention of older soil C under N-fixing trees is a novel finding and may be important for strategies that use reforestation or afforestation to offset C emissions.

Evidence for nitrogen fixation associated with macroalgae from a seagrass - mangrove - coral reef system

France, R., J. Holmquist, M. Chandler, and A. Cattaneo. 1998. Delta N-15 evidence for nitrogen fixation associated with macroalgae from a seagrass-mangrove coral reef system RID H-3188-2011. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 167 : 297-9.

Early studies using acetylene reduction have suggested that macroalgae may contribute to nitrogen enrichment of waters near coral reefs via nitrogen fixation by their epiphytic cynaphytes. Our objectives were to investigate the potential of stable nitrogen isotope analysis for detecting nitrogen fixation in near-reef macroalgae, and to compare these finding with those for different fixing and non-fixing autotrophs from other systems. We made collections of near-reef algae in Puerto Rico, seagrasses and macroalgae from streams in Quebec, Canada. The mean + SD 6 1 5 ~fo r near-reef algea was 0.3 r i.G%, vaiues whlch were significantly lower than those from our other sampling areas and also well below published values for other marine benthic nitrogen fixers (ca 2%) and non-fixers (ca 6%0). Our results provide a useful test of the value of stable nitrogen analysis in detecting nitrogen fixation of near-reef algae, thereby supporting previous non-isotope work in suggesting that this macroalgalcyanophyte complex may provide an important source of fixed nitrogen to reef systems.
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