Short-term controls over inorganic phosphorus during soil and ecosystem development

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Geochemical sorption and biological demand control phosphorus (P) retention and availability in soils. Sorption and the biota predominantly utilize the same inorganic form of P, from the same soil pool, on the same time scale, and thus are likely to compete for P as it flows through the available pool. In tropical soils, P availability is typically quite low and soil geochemical reactivity can be quite high. We tested whether greater P sorption strength in tropical soils resulted in lower biological uptake of available P. Since the strength of soil sorption and biological demand for P change as ecosystems develop and soils age, we used soils from the two upper horizons from three sites along a 4.1 million-year-old tropical forest chronosequence in the Hawaiian archipelago. We evaluated the strength of geochemical sorption, microbial demand, and the partitioning of added available P into biological versus geochemical soil pools over 48 h using a 32PO4 tracer. Soil sorption strength was high and correlated with soil mineral content. The amount of added phosphate geochemically sorbed versus immobilized by microbes varied more between the organic and mineral soil horizons than among soil ages. Microbial activity was a good predictor of how much available P was partitioned into biological versus geochemical pools across all soils, while sorption capacity was not. This suggests that microbial demand was the predominant control over partitioning of available P despite changes in soil sorption strength. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Olander, LP; Vitousek, PM

Published Date

  • April 1, 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 651 - 659

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-0717

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.soilbio.2004.08.022

Citation Source

  • Scopus