Growth and allocation of the arctic sedges Eriohorum angustifolium and E. vaginatum: effects of variable soil oxygen and nutrient availability.


Journal Article

In arctic tundra soil, oxygen depletion associated with soil flooding may control plant growth either directly through anoxia or indirectly through effects on nutrient availability. This study was designed to evaluate whether plant growth and physiology of two arctic sedge species are more strongly controlled by the direct or indirect effects of decreased soil aeration. Eriophorum angustifolium and E. vaginatum, which originate from flooded and well-drained habitats, respectively, were grown in an in situ transplant garden at two levels of soil oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus availability over two growing seasons. In both species, N addition had a stronger effect on growth and biomass allocation than P addition or soil oxygen depletion. Net photosynthesis and carbohydrate concentrations were relatively insensitive to changes in these factors. Biomass reallocated from shoots to below-ground parts in response to limited N supply was equally divided between roots (nutrient acquisition) and perennating rhizomes (storage tissue formation) in E. angustifolium. E. Vaginatum only increased its allocation to rhizomes. In the flood-tolerant E. angustifolium, growth was improved by soil anoxia and biomass allocation among plant parts was not significantly affected. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, whole-plant growth in E. vaginatum improved in flooded soils; however, it only did so when N availability was high. Under low N availability growth in flooded soils was reduced by 20% compared to growth in the aerobic environment. Reduced biomass allocation to rhizomes and thus to storage potential under anaerobic conditions may reduce long-term survival of E. vaginatum in flooded habitats.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gebauer, RLE; Reynolds, JF; Tenhunen, JD

Published Date

  • November 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 104 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 330 - 339

PubMed ID

  • 28307590

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28307590

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-1939

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0029-8549

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/bf00328369


  • eng