Free Essay

Linkages of Plant Traits to Soil Properties

In: Science

Submitted By jaguars18
Words 561
Pages 3
21 October 2014

Review of: Linkages of plant traits to soil properties and the functioning of temperate grassland

The researchers and authors of this paper looked at the idea of plant-soil interactions and how their traits can be a tool to help understand ecosystem functions. Global climate change has affected many factors involved in ecosystems and their functions, and this will continue to happen. A very likely outcome of continued climate change is the changing of plant communities and their traits. This in turn affects the surrounding soil, and that will have an impact on the nutrient cycling which rely very heavily on the soil to be the mediator. Most of Earth’s processes and functions are interconnected and are difficult to alter without having an effect on something else. The relationship of plant traits to ecosystem properties can tell researchers a great deal about the current state of the ecosystem and the kind of functions that are present. Key nutrient cycles such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon are intricate and affected by many factors. The researchers of this paper believed that by studying the plant traits and soil properties they could gain a better idea of these cycles and the way that they are affected. Their main goal was to determine whether or not the traits of co-existing grassland species grown with different growth strategies would have an effect/differ the soil properties. They measured the plant traits on fresh leaf, litter, and root material from each plot. Total C, N, and P were also measured for each sample. Also, they looked at four different soil properties that they believed to be very influential in the cycles and plants they support: soil pH, temperature, soil moisture content, and water holding capacity. They used statistical analyses to try and correlate the soil traits with the plant traits and find out their interactions and relationships. They were able to infer from their data and results that it is likely the traits of a plant vary depending on the amount of time it was grown in a particular patch and also the differences in the soil traits and fertility. In contrast, there was little evidence that root traits behaved in the same way. They are less likely to be affected by the differing soil properties present. The majority of plant and soil processes are connected and have an effect on one another. The researchers were able to conclude that plant species in a single grassland ecosystem vary significantly enough to result in different soil properties within seven years. That could/will play a huge role in fighting climate change. With the global climate continuing to show signs of change, the plants and soils that we believe we know so well will also change. It is important that research like this is continued to help us bridge the gap between our knowledge of the current climate and knowledge of our ever-changing climate.

Questions:
1. This isn’t really a question, but I would be curious to know what they believe would happen if they controlled for one of the nutrients (such as carbon) to be limited.
2. How much change/difference in the properties of soil would it take to effect the global nutrient cycles in a significant way?
3. Would they expect to see the same results in a different ecosystem?

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