Linking plant and soil nutrient dynamics in temperate and tropical montane forests

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


I built on our fundamental understanding of ecosystem function by examining how climate variability influences feedbacks between plant processes and soil nutrient dynamics. At Lubrecht Experimental Forest, I examined how variability in snow depth, precipitation, and soil moisture influenced seasonal nitrogen allocation in Douglas-fir. I then examined if N cycling within Douglas-fir synchronized with patterns of N availability in the soil. In this case, N availability in the soil influenced plant nutrient dynamics. On the other hand, on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago, plants fed back and influenced soil nutrient dynamics. Changes in precipitation, soil moisture, and temperature strongly controlled nutrient concentrations in the soil, and to a lesser degree, plant community type determined nutrient concentrations, especially N concentrations, in the soil.




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