Track: Organized Oral Session
Tropical forests are highly diverse and productive ecosystems that sequester large amounts of carbon despite often growing on nutrient-poor soils. Empirical evidence and earth system models that include cycling of the key nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, indicate that the carbon sink is sensitive to nutrient limitation. However, the degree to which plants can overcome nutrient constraints and support a carbon sink with nutrient acquisition strategies remains unclear. Plants can use several strategies to conserve and increase access to nutrients, such as producing root acids, enzymes, and fine roots, and forming symbioses with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi. Modeling projections reveal that the degree to which plants can use and adjust these nutrient acquisition strategies remains key to our ability to predict the function of future forests. Thus it is critical to understand how plants regulate nutrient acquisition strategies and their associated tradeoffs in order to evaluate how nutrient limitation will affect the tropical carbon sink. This session benefits from recent advances in modeling efforts to represent plant nutrient strategies and emerging data from large-scale experiments in tropical forests. Despite the important role of tropical forests in the global carbon cycle, our knowledge of plant responses to nutrient limitation is lagging behind other ecosystems. Much of what we know about the plasticity of nutrient acquisition comes from temperate and agricultural ecosystems, with limited evidence from pot studies conducted on tropical plants. To address these challenges, we bring empiricists working across scales and study sites together with modelers to identify the knowledge gaps in guiding modeling and field efforts. We aim to examine key processes, synthesize commonalities in plant responses to nutrient limitation and disturbance, and identify opportunities for future data collection and model development. This session will be of broad relevance to ecologists interested in plant ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate change.
Presenting Author: Emma J. Sayer – Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University
Presenting Author: Kara E. Allen – Manaaki Whenua--Landcare Research
Presenting Author: Kelly M. Andersen – Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Techological University
Presenting Author: Katrin Fleischer – Department Biogeochemical Signals, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Presenting Author: Laynara F. Lugli – Coordination of Environmental Dynamics, National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA)
Presenting Author: Daniela Yaffar – Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory