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Differential responses of heterotrophic and autotrophic respiration to nitrogen addition and precipitation changes in a Tibetan alpine steppe.
Scientific reports
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2018
Source ID: shanti-sources-104336
Abstract: Soil respiration (Rs) is an important source of atmospheric CO2 flux and is sensitive to changes in soil nutrient and water contents. Despite extensive studies on the effects of enhanced atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition and changes in precipitation (P) on Rs, few studies have taken into account the effects of interactions between these factors on Rs of alpine grasslands. To address these questions, we investigated the effects of N addition (10 g N m-2 yr-1), changes in precipitation (±50% precipitation), and their interaction on soil respiration and its components, including heterotrophic respiration (Rh) and autotrophic respiration (Ra),in a Tibetan alpine steppe during three consecutive growing seasons. We found that Rs differed in its response to N addition and precipitation regimes. Specifically, decreased precipitation led to a significant reduction in Rs during the last two years, whereas N addition minimally impacted Rs. Another important finding was that soil respiration components differed in their response to N addition and precipitation regimes. Nitrogen addition significantly enhanced Ra, whereas Rh was not altered in response to N addition. By contrast, the precipitation regime led to marked changes in Rh, but exhibited marginally significant effects on Ra. Therefore, our findings highlighted that soil respiration differed in its response to N addition and precipitation regimes mainly due to the different responses of soil respiration components to these factors. Therefore, carbon dynamics should take soil respiration components into account under global change scenarios.