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Publication Type J
Authors Moseman, S. M.
Title Opposite diel patterns of nitrogen fixation associated with salt marsh plant species (Spartina foliosa and Salicornia virginica) in southern California
Source Marine Ecology-an Evolutionary Perspective
Abstract In marine wetlands, nitrogen fixation is a potentially important nutrient source for nitrogen-limited primary producers, but interactions between nitrogen fixer's and different vascular plant species are not fully understood. Nitrogen fixation activity was compared in sediments vegetated by three plant species, Spartina foliosa, Salicornia virginica, and Salicornia bigelovii in the Kendall Frost Reserve salt marsh in Mission Bay (CA). This study addressed the effects of plant type, day and night conditions, and sediment depths on nitrogen fixation. Higher rates of nitrogen fixation were associated with S. foliosa than with either of the two Salicornia spp., which are known to compete more effectively than Spartina for exogenous nitrogen in the salt marsh environment. Rates of nitrogen fixation, determined by acetylene reduction, in sediments vegetated by S. virginica were low during the day (7.7 +/- 1.2 mu mol C2H4 m(-2) h(-1)) but averaged 13 +/- 6.6 mu mol C2H4 m(-2) h(-1) at night, with particularly high rates in samples from locations with visible cyanobacterial mats. The opposite diel pattern was found for sediments containing S. foliosa plants, in which average daytime and nighttime rates of nitrogen fixation were 62 +/- 23 and 21 +/- 15 mu mol C2H4 m(-2) h(-1), respectively. For S. foliosa, nitrogenase activity of rinsed roots and different sediment sections (0-1, or 4-5 cm depths) were measured. Although nitrogen fixation rates in vegetated sediment samples were substantial, all but one of rinsed S. foliosa root samples (n = 12) and subsurface sediments at 4-5 cm depths failed to show nitrogen fixation activity after 2 h, suggesting that the most active nitrogen fixers in these systems likely reside in, surface sediments. Further, nitrogenase activity in shaded and unshaded S. foliosa samples did not differ, suggesting that nitrogen fixers may not rapidly respond to changes in plant photosynthetic activity. Average nitrogen fixation rates in S. foliosa-vegetated samples from the Mission Bay salt marsh were on the same order as those of highly productive Atlantic coast marshes, and this microbially-mediated nitrogen source may be similarly substantial in other Mediterranean wetlands. Sediment abiotic variables seem to exert greater control upon nitrogen fixation activity than the effects of particular plant species. Nonetheless, dominant plant species may differ substantially in their reliance on nitrogen fixation as a nutrient source, with potentially important consequences for wetland conservation and restoration.
ISSN 0173-9565
ISBN 0173-9565
Publication Date Jun
Year Published 2007
Volume 28
Issue 2
Beginning Page 276-287
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2006.00137.x
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000247313200004
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