Legume species identity and soil nitrogen supply determine symbiotic nitrogen-fixation responses to elevated atmospheric [CO2]

Jason B. West, Janneke HilleRisLambers, Tali D. Lee, Sarah E Hobbie, Peter B Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations

Abstract

• In nitrogen (N)-limited systems, the response of symbiotic N fixation to elevated atmospheric [CO2] may be an important determinant of ecosystem responses to this global change. Experimental tests of the effects of elevated [CO2] have not been consistent. Although rarely tested, differences among legume species and N supply may be important. • In a field free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment, we determined, for four legume species, whether the effects of elevated atmospheric [CO2] on symbiotic N fixation depended on soil N availability or species identity. Natural abundance and pool-dilution 15N methods were used to estimate N fixation. • Although N addition did, in general, decrease N fixation, contrary to theoretical predictions, elevated [CO 2] did not universally increase N fixation. Rather, the effect of elevated [CO2] on N fixation was positive, neutral or negative, depending on the species and N addition. • Our results suggest that legume species identity and N supply are critical factors in determining symbiotic N-fixation responses to increased atmospheric [CO2].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-530
Number of pages8
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume167
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

Keywords

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Legumes
  • Nitrogen fertilization
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Symbiosis

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