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  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)  (25)
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2015, Vol.10(8), p.e0136579
    Description: The present study with young poplar trees aimed at characterizing the effect of O2 shortage in the soil on net uptake of NO3- and NH4+ and the spatial distribution of the N taken up. Moreover, we assessed biomass increment as well as N status of the trees affected by O2 deficiency. For this purpose, an experiment was conducted in which hydroponically grown young poplar trees were exposed to hypoxic and normoxic (control) conditions for 14 days. 15N-labelled NO3- and NH4+ were used to elucidate N uptake and distribution of currently absorbed N and N allocation rates in the plants. Whereas shoot biomass was not affected by soil O2 deficiency, it significantly reduced root biomass and, consequently, the root-to-shoot ratio. Uptake of NO3- but not of NH4+ by the roots of the trees was severely impaired by hypoxia. As a consequence of reduced N uptake, the N content of all poplar tissues was significantly diminished. Under normoxic control conditions, the spatial distribution of currently absorbed N and N allocation rates differed depending on the N source. Whereas NO3- derived N was mainly transported to the younger parts of the shoot, particularly to the developing and young mature leaves, N derived from NH4+ was preferentially allocated to older parts of the shoot, mainly to wood and bark. Soil O2 deficiency enhanced this differential allocation pattern. From these results we assume that NO3- was assimilated in developing tissues and preferentially used to maintain growth and ensure plant survival under hypoxia, whereas NH4+ based N was used for biosynthesis of storage proteins in bark and wood of the trees. Still, further studies are needed to understand the mechanistic basis as well as the eco-physiological advantages of such differential allocation patterns.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    In: PLoS ONE, 2015, Vol.10(5)
    Description: Climate change poses direct or indirect influences on physiological mechanisms in plants. In particular, long living plants like trees have to cope with the predicted climate changes (i.e. drought and air warming) during their life span. The present study aimed to quantify the consequences of simulated climate change for foliar N metabolites over a drought-rewetting-drought course. Saplings of three Central European oak species (i.e. Quercus robur , Q . petraea , Q . pubescens ) were tested on two different soil types (i.e. acidic and calcareous). Consecutive drought periods increased foliar amino acid-N and soluble protein-N concentrations at the expense of structural N in all three oak species. In addition, transient effects on foliar metabolite dynamics were observed over the drought-rewetting-drought course. The lowest levels of foliar soluble protein-N, amino acid-N and potassium cation with a minor response to drought and air warming were found in the oak species originating from the driest/warmest habitat ( Q . pubescens ) compared to Q . robur and Q . petraea . Higher foliar osmolyte-N and potassium under drought and air warming were observed in all oak species when grown on calcareous versus acidic soil. These results indicate that species-specific differences in physiological mechanisms to compensate drought and elevated temperature are modified by soil acidity.
    Keywords: Research Article
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    In: PLoS ONE, 2014, Vol.9(12)
    Description: In the future, periods of strongly increased temperature in concert with drought (heat waves) will have potentially detrimental effects on trees and forests in Central Europe. Norway spruce might be at risk in the future climate of Central Europe. However, Douglas-fir is often discussed as an alternative for the drought and heat sensitive Norway spruce, because some provenances are considered to be well adapted to drier and warmer conditions. In this study, we identified the physiological and growth responses of seedlings from two different Douglas-fir provenances to increased temperature and atmospheric drought during a period of 92 days. We analysed (i) plant biomass, (ii) carbon stable isotope composition as an indicator for time integrated intrinsic water use efficiency, (iii) apparent respiratory carbon isotope fractionation as well as (iv) the profile of polar low molecular metabolites. Plant biomass was only slightly affected by increased temperatures and atmospheric drought but the more negative apparent respiratory fractionation indicated a temperature-dependent decrease in the commitment of substrate to the tricarboxylic acid cycle. The metabolite profile revealed that the simulated heat wave induced a switch in stress protecting compounds from proline to polyols. We conclude that metabolic acclimation successfully contributes to maintain functioning and physiological activity in seedlings of both Douglas-fir provenances under conditions that are expected during heat waves (i.e. elevated temperatures and atmospheric drought). Douglas-fir might be a potentially important tree species for forestry in Central Europe under changing climatic conditions.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Ecology And Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 2011, Vol.6(4), p.e19045
    Description: Modern agriculture is based on the notion that nitrate is the main source of nitrogen (N) for crops, but nitrate is also the most mobile form of N and easily lost from soil. Efficient acquisition of nitrate by crops is therefore a prerequisite for avoiding off-site N pollution. Sugarcane is considered the most suitable tropical crop for biofuel production, but surprisingly high N fertilizer applications in main producer countries raise doubt about the sustainability of production and are at odds with a carbon-based crop. Examining reasons for the inefficient use of N fertilizer, we hypothesized that sugarcane resembles other giant tropical grasses which inhibit the production of nitrate in soil and differ from related grain crops with a confirmed ability to use nitrate. The results of our study support the hypothesis that N-replete sugarcane and ancestral species in the Andropogoneae supertribe strongly prefer ammonium over nitrate. Sugarcane differs from grain crops, sorghum and maize, which acquired both N sources equally well, while giant grass, Erianthus, displayed an intermediate ability to use nitrate. We conclude that discrimination against nitrate and a low capacity to store nitrate in shoots prevents commercial sugarcane varieties from taking advantage of the high nitrate concentrations in fertilized soils in the first three months of the growing season, leaving nitrate vulnerable to loss. Our study addresses a major caveat of sugarcane production and affords a strong basis for improvement through breeding cultivars with enhanced capacity to use nitrate as well as through agronomic measures that reduce nitrification in soil.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Agriculture ; Biology ; Chemistry ; Chemistry ; Plant Biology ; Biotechnology ; Ecology ; Developmental Biology
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Forests, 01 August 2015, Vol.6(8), pp.2820-2835
    Description: Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient that is highly abundant as N2 in the atmosphere and also as various mineral and organic forms in soils. However, soil N bioavailability often limits the net primary productivity of unperturbed temperate forests with low atmospheric N input. This is because most soil N is part of polymeric organic matter, which requires microbial depolymerization and mineralization to render bioavailable N forms such as monomeric organic or mineral N. Despite this N limitation, many unfertilized forest ecosystems on marginal soil show relatively high productivity and N uptake comparable to agricultural systems. The present review article addresses the question of how this high N demand is met in temperate forest ecosystems. For this purpose, current knowledge on the distribution and fluxes of N in marginal forest soil and the regulation of N acquisition and distribution in trees are summarized. The related processes and fluxes under N limitation are compared with those of forests exposed to high N loads, where chronic atmospheric N deposition has relieved N limitation and caused N saturation. We conclude that soil microbial biomass is of decisive importance for nutrient retention and provision to trees both in high and low N ecosystems.
    Keywords: Tree Nitrogen Uptake ; Soil Microbial Nitrogen Turnover ; N Limitation ; N Saturation ; Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition ; Höglwald Spruce Forest ; Tuttlingen Beech Forest ; Forestry
    E-ISSN: 1999-4907
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2018, Vol.13(3), p.e0194684
    Description: The coniferous forest tree Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is native to the pacific North America, and is increasingly planted in temperate regions worldwide. Nitrogen (N) metabolism is of great importance for growth, resistance and resilience of trees. In the present study, foliar N metabolism of adult trees of three coastal and one interior provenance of Douglas-fir grown at two common gardens in southwestern Germany (Wiesloch, W; Schluchsee, S) were characterized in two subsequent years. Both the native North American habitats of the seed sources and the common garden sites in Germany differ in climate conditions. Total and mineral soil N as well as soil water content were higher in S compared to W. We hypothesized that i) provenances differ constitutively in N pool sizes and composition, ii) N pools are affected by environmental conditions, and iii) that effects of environmental factors on N pools differ among interior and coastal provenances. Soil water content strongly affected the concentrations of total N, soluble protein, total amino acids (TAA), arginine and glutamate. Foliar concentrations of total N, soluble protein, structural N and TAA of trees grown at W were much higher than in trees at S. Provenance effects were small but significant for total N and soluble protein content (interior provenance showed lowest concentrations), as well as arginine, asparagine and glutamate. Our data suggest that needle N status of adult Douglas-fir is independent from soil N availability and that low soil water availability induces a re-allocation of N from structural N to metabolic N pools. Small provenance effects on N pools suggest that local adaptation of Douglas-fir is not dominated by N conditions at the native habitats.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in plant science, 2015, Vol.6, pp.302
    Description: Competition for nitrogen (N), particularly in resource-limited habitats, might be avoided by different N acquisition strategies of plants. In our study, we investigated whether slow-growing European beech and fast-growing sycamore maple seedlings avoid competition for growth-limiting N by different N uptake patterns and the potential alteration by soil N availability in a microcosm experiment. We quantified growth and biomass indices, (15)N uptake capacity and N pools in the fine roots. Overall, growth indices, N acquisition and N pools in the fine roots were influenced by species-specific competition depending on soil N availability. With inter-specific competition, growth of sycamore maple reduced regardless of soil N supply, whereas beech only showed reduced growth when N was limited. Both species responded to inter-specific competition by alteration of N pools in the fine roots; however, sycamore maple showed a stronger response compared to beech for almost all N pools in roots, except for structural N at low soil N availability. Beech generally preferred organic N acquisition while sycamore maple took up more inorganic N. Furthermore, with inter-specific competition, beech had an enhanced organic N uptake capacity, while in sycamore maple inorganic N uptake capacity was impaired by the presence of beech. Although sycamore maple could tolerate the suboptimal conditions at the cost of reduced growth, our study indicates its reduced competitive ability for N compared to beech.
    Keywords: N Pools ; Growth Strategies ; Inorganic N Uptake ; Inter-Specific Competition ; Intra-Specific Competition ; Organic N Uptake ; Specific Amino Acids
    ISSN: 1664-462X
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Forests, 01 May 2017, Vol.8(5), p.167
    Description: Sustainable forest management should avoid disturbance and volatilization of the soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stocks both under present and projected future climate. Earlier studies have shown that thinning of European beech forests induces a strong initial perturbation of the soil C and N cycles in shallow Rendzic Leptosol, which consists of lower soil N retention and strongly enhanced gaseous losses observed over several years. Persistence of these effects could decrease soil organic matter (SOM) levels and associated soil functions such as erosion protection, nutrient retention, and fertility. Therefore, we resampled untreated control and thinned stands a decade after thinning at sites representing both typical present day and projected future climatic conditions for European beech forests. We determined soil organic C and total N stocks, as well as δ13C and δ15N as integrators of changes in soil C and N cycles. Thinning did not alter these parameters at any of the sampled sites, indicating that initial effects on soil C and N cycles constitute short-term perturbations. Consequently, thinning may be considered a sustainable beech forest management strategy with regard to the maintenance of soil organic C and total N stocks both under present and future climate.
    Keywords: Thinning ; Calcareous Soil ; Soil N Cycling ; Soil C Cycling ; Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks ; Soil C and N Losses ; Soil N Retention ; Forestry
    E-ISSN: 1999-4907
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2017, Vol.12(6), p.e0177883
    Description: Plants adapt to the environment by either long-term genome evolution or by acclimatization processes where the cellular processes and metabolism of the plant are adjusted within the existing potential in the genome. Here we studied the adaptation strategies in date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, under mild heat, drought and combined heat and drought by transcriptomic and metabolomic profiling. In transcriptomics data, combined heat and drought resembled heat response, whereas in metabolomics data it was more similar to drought. In both conditions, soluble carbohydrates, such as fucose, and glucose derivatives, were increased, suggesting a switch to carbohydrate metabolism and cell wall biogenesis. This result is consistent with the evidence from transcriptomics and cis-motif analysis. In addition, transcriptomics data showed transcriptional activation of genes related to reactive oxygen species in all three conditions (drought, heat, and combined heat and drought), suggesting increased activity of enzymatic antioxidant systems in cytosol, chloroplast and peroxisome. Finally, the genes that were differentially expressed in heat and combined heat and drought stresses were significantly enriched for circadian and diurnal rhythm motifs, suggesting new stress avoidance strategies.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2016, Vol.11(7), p.e0158823
    Description: European beech forests growing on marginal calcareous soils have been proposed to be vulnerable to decreased soil water availability. This could result in a large-scale loss of ecological services and economical value in a changing climate. In order to evaluate the potential consequences of this drought-sensitivity, we investigated potential species range shifts for European beech forests on calcareous soil in the 21st century by statistical species range distribution modelling for present day and projected future climate conditions. We found a dramatic decline by 78% until 2080. Still the physiological or biogeochemical mechanisms underlying the drought sensitivity of European beech are largely unknown. Drought sensitivity of beech is commonly attributed to plant physiological constraints. Furthermore, it has also been proposed that reduced soil water availability could promote nitrogen (N) limitation of European beech due to impaired microbial N cycling in soil, but this hypothesis has not yet been tested. Hence we investigated the influence of simulated climate change (increased temperatures, reduced soil water availability) on soil gross microbial N turnover and plant N uptake in the beech-soil interface of a typical mountainous beech forest stocking on calcareous soil in SW Germany. For this purpose, triple 15N isotope labelling of intact beech seedling-soil-microbe systems was combined with a space-for-time climate change experiment. We found that nitrate was the dominant N source for beech natural regeneration. Reduced soil water content caused a persistent decline of ammonia oxidizing bacteria and therefore, a massive attenuation of gross nitrification rates and nitrate availability in the soil. Consequently, nitrate and total N uptake of beech seedlings were strongly reduced so that impaired growth of beech seedlings was observed already after one year of exposure to simulated climatic change. We conclude that the N cycle in this ecosystem and here specifically nitrification is vulnerable to reduced water availability, which can directly lead to nutritional limitations of beech seedlings. This tight link between reduced water availability, drought stress for nitrifiers, decreased gross nitrification rates and nitrate availability and finally nitrate uptake by beech seedlings could represent the Achilles' heel for beech under climate change stresses.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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