Distinct effects of canopy vs understory and organic vs inorganic N deposition on root resource acquisition strategies of subtropical Moso bamboo plants

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Wang, Lin
Zhang, Baogang
Fang, Yunying
Yin, Huajun
Fu, Shenglei
Chang, Scott X
Cai, Yanjiang
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Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition inevitably alters soil nutrient status, subsequently prompting plants to modify their root morphology (i.e., adopting a do-it-yourself strategy), mycorrhizal symbioses (i.e., outsourcing strategy), and root exudation (i.e., nutrient-mining strategy) linking with resource acquisition. However, how N deposition influences the integrated pattern of these resource-acquisition strategies remains unclear. Furthermore, most studies in forest ecosystems have focused on understory N and inorganic N deposition, neglecting canopy-associated processes (e.g., N interception and assimilation) and the impacts of organic N on root functional traits. In this study, we compared the effects of canopy vs understory, organic vs inorganic N deposition on eight root functional traits of Moso bamboo plants. Our results showed that N deposition significantly decreased arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonization, altered root exudation rate and root foraging traits (branching intensity, specific root area, and length), but did not influence root tissue density and N concentration. Moreover, the impacts of N deposition on root functional traits varied significantly with deposition approach (canopy vs. understory), form (organic vs. inorganic), and their interaction, showing variations in both intensity and direction (positive/negative). Furthermore, specific root area and length were positively correlated with AMF colonization under canopy N deposition and root exudation rate in understory N deposition. Root trait variation under understory N deposition, but not under canopy N deposition, was classified into the collaboration gradient and the conservation gradient. These findings imply that coordination of nutrient-acquisition strategies dependent on N deposition approach. Overall, this study provides a holistic understanding of the impacts of N deposition on root resource-acquisition strategies. Our results indicate that the evaluation of N deposition on fine roots in forest ecosystems might be biased if N is added understory.

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Science of The Total Environment

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Soil sciences


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Wang, L; Zhang, B; Fang, Y; Yin, H; Fu, S; Chang, SX; Cai, Y, Distinct effects of canopy vs understory and organic vs inorganic N deposition on root resource acquisition strategies of subtropical Moso bamboo plants, Science of The Total Environment, 2024, 927, pp. 172424