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Patterns of ecosystem development in glacial foreland chronosequences: a comparative analysis of Chile and New Zealand

Citation
Perez C, Aravena JC, Silva W, McCulloch R & Parfitt R (2016) Patterns of ecosystem development in glacial foreland chronosequences: a comparative analysis of Chile and New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Botany, 54 (2), pp. 156-174.

Abstract
After catastrophic disturbances, depleted substrates are readily colonised by organisms that capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and extract phosphorus from minerals. Our main objective was to compare the pattern of ecosystem development following deglaciation in Chile and New Zealand. Results show a similar pattern of C and N accumulation and decline in soil chronosequences, similar decline in biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and similar δ15N-enriched signal at later stages, providing evidence for the existence of progressive, maximal and retrogressive phases of ecosystem development. However, contrasting patterns between Chilean and New Zealand sites are evident during the progressive phase, when higher C/N, C/P and N/P ratios are found in soils and leaves in Chile than in New Zealand, suggesting a higher nutrient limitation and nutrient use efficiency in the former. Highest rates of BNF were found at the early stages of both the Chilean and New Zealand chronosequences. Contrasting patterns across regions were the lack of a decline in soil total P, and the depleted values in soils of 15N during the progressive phase in the Chilean chronosequences, but enriched values, suggesting an open nitrogen cycle, during retrogression in both the Chilean and the New Zealand chronosequences. Overall, these results provide evidence for the existence of retrogression with ecosystem development in the sub-Antarctic region of the world, even when comparing contrasting biomes, climatic regions and geological substrates.

Keywords
Biological nitrogen fixation; Franz Josef; retrogression; soil/leaves stoichiometry; sub-Antarctic forests

StatusPublished
AuthorsPerez Cecilia, Aravena Juan Carlos, Silva Wladimir, McCulloch Robert, Parfitt Roger
Publication date2016
Publication date online07/06/2016
Date accepted by journal29/11/2015
PublisherTaylor and Francis
ISSN 0028-825X
LanguageEnglish

Journal
new Zealand Journal of Botany: Volume 54, Issue 2

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