NEW PAPER OUT! Sodium co-limits and catalyzes macronutrients in a prairie food web

cropped-cropped-dscn19521.jpg“Nitrogen and phosphorus frequently limit terrestrial plant production, but have
a mixed record in regulating the abundance of terrestrial invertebrates. We contrasted four
ways that Na could interact with an NP fertilizer to shape the plants and invertebrates of an inland prairie. We applied NP and Na to m² plots in a factorial design. Aboveground invertebrate abundance was independently co-limited by NaCl and NP, but with +NP plots supporting more individuals. We suggest the disparity arises because NP enhanced plant height by 35% (1 SD) over controls, providing both food and habitat, whereas NaCl provides only food. Belowground invertebrates showed evidence of serial co-limitation, where NaCl additions alone were ineffectual, but catalyzed access to NP. This suggests the increased belowground food availability in NP plots increased Na demand. Na and NP supply rates vary with climate, land use, and with inputs like urine. The co-limitation and catalysis of N and P by Na thus has the potential for predicting patterns of abundance and diversity across spatial scales.”

Led by Mike Kaspari, our first paper of the new year has just recently been published in Ecology! This was an interesting and probably the most collaborative project that I have been a part of to date. Mike sums up the results nicely on his website, which can you find at the link below.

[Click here for blog post]

Also a copy of the full paper should be freely available on Ecology‘s website and I have also created a link to the PDF below.

[Click here for PDF]

*Photo of a meadow at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

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