Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 6, 59–66, 2009

Special issue: Processes controlling the exchange of ammonia between grassland...

Biogeosciences, 6, 59–66, 2009

  09 Jan 2009

09 Jan 2009

Contribution of different grass species to plant-atmosphere ammonia exchange in intensively managed grassland

M. Mattsson1,*, B. Herrmann2, S. Jones2,3, A. Neftel2, M. A. Sutton3, and J. K. Schjoerring1 M. Mattsson et al.
  • 1Plant and Soil Science Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Natural Environmental Research Council, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh Research Station, Penicuik EH26 0QB, Midlothian Scotland
  • *now at: Section for Economy and Technology, Halmstad University, Halmstad, 30118 Sweden

Abstract. Species diversity in grasslands usually declines with increasing input of nitrogen from fertilizers or atmospheric deposition. Conversely, species diversity may also impact the build-up of soil and plant nitrogen pools. One important pool is NH3/NH4+ which also can be exchanged between plant leaves and the atmosphere. Limited information is available on how plant-atmosphere ammonia exchange is related to species diversity in grasslands. We have here investigated grass species abundance and different foliar nitrogen pools in 4-year-old intensively managed grassland. Apoplastic pH and NH4+ concentrations of the 8 most abundant species (Lolium perenne, Phleum pratense, Festuca pratensis, Lolium multiflorum, Poa pratensis, Dactylis glomerata, Holcus lanatus, Bromus mollis) were used to calculate stomatal NH3 compensation points. Apoplastic NH4+ concentrations differed considerably among the species, ranging from 13 to 117 μM, with highest values in Festuca pratensis. Also apoplastic pH values varied, from pH 6.0 in Phleum pratense to 6.9 in Dactylis glomerata. The observed differences in apoplastic NH4+ and pH resulted in a large span of predicted values for the stomatal NH3 compensation point which ranged between 0.20 and 6.57 nmol mol−1. Three species (Lolium perenne, Festuca pratensis and Dactylis glomerata) had sufficiently high NH3 compensation point and abundance to contribute to the bi-directional NH3 fluxes recorded over the whole field. The other 5 grass species had NH3 compensation points considerably below the atmospheric NH3 concentration and were thus not likely to contribute to NH3 emission but only to NH3 uptake from the atmosphere. Evaluated across species, leaf bulk-tissue NH4+ concentrations correlated well (r2=0.902) with stomatal NH3 compensation points calculated on the basis of the apoplastic bioassay. This suggests that leaf tissue NH4+ concentrations combined with data for the frequency distribution of the corresponding species can be used for predicting the NH3 exchange potential of a mixed grass sward.

Final-revised paper