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Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

Numerous studies have shown that the particular plant species growing in a soil influence the soil’s chemical properties. With this in mind, in the study of Colorado mountain soil mentioned in Section 35.2, the researchers expected to find differences in the study area’s soil chemistry depending on which of the three main tree species—trembling aspen (Populustremuloides), lodgepole pine (Pinuscontorta), or Engelmann spruce (Piceaengelmannii)—was dominant at a particular site. One factor that affects soil chemistry is the chemical composition of the leaf litter that falls to the ground and decomposes. The Table that follows shows values for leaf litter composition as a function of the litter’s nitrogen, carbon, cellulose, and lignin content. For each species it also shows the biomass of fine roots (less than 1 mm diameter) and coarse roots (more than 1 mm diameter) in the upper 10 cm of soil.

Based on these values, summarize the findings for aspen trees, compared with the pines and spruce trees in the sample.

TABLE Leaf Litter Quality and Root Biomass of Tree Species in a High-Elevation Forest in Colorado
Litter N (%) Litter C (%) Litter C:N Litter Cellulose (%) Litter Lignin (%) Litter Lignin:N Fine Root Biomass (g/m2) Coarse Root Biomass (g/m2)
Aspen 0.84±0.08 49.4±0.4 60.4±5.2 42.1±3.0 20.2±2.2 24.1±1.2 321±47 422±134
Pine 0.47±0.03 52.0±0.3 112.1±8.3 59.0±1.0 33.8±0.5 73.2±5.7 215±25 232±87
Spruce 0.41±0.01 48.7±0.1 118.3±4.2 41.1±1.1 19.2±0.7 46.6±1.7 249±28 319±62

Source: Adapted from E. Ayres et al. 2009. Tree species traits influence soil physical, chemical, and biological properties in high elevation forests. PLoS ONE 4(6):e5964.

Summary Introduction

To review:

Based on the values given in the table, summarize the findings for aspen trees, compared with the pines and spruce trees in the sample.

Introduction:

The characteristics of the soil are largely affected by species and chemical composition of the plant that grows on that soil. The plants require essential micronutrients and macronutrients from the environment for their growth and reproduction. These nutrients are provided by the root system and conducting vessels.

Explanation

The summary of the compared values with the pines and spruce trees in the sample are given in the following table:

Characteristic Trembling Aspen Lodgepole pine Engelmann spruce
Litter cellulose (%) 42% 59% 41%
Litter lignin (%) 20% 34% 19%
Litter Nitrogen (%) 0...

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