Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Too little nitrogen may restrain plants' carbon storage capability

Date:
October 2, 2012
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Plants' ability to absorb increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air may have been overestimated, a new study shows. According to the study, even though plants absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and actually can benefit from higher levels of it, they may not get enough of the nutrients they need from typical soils to absorb as much CO2 as scientists had previously estimated.

Forest. Plants' ability to absorb increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air may have been overestimated, a new University of Minnesota study shows.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

Plants' ability to absorb increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air may have been overestimated, a new University of Minnesota study shows.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that even though plants absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and actually can benefit from higher levels of it, they may not get enough of the nutrients they need from typical soils to absorb as much CO2 as scientists had previously estimated. Carbon dioxide absorption is an important factor in mitigating fossil-fuel emissions.

The study, one of only three such long-term experiments in the world, is based on 13 years of research at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve north of the Twin Cities. U of M scientists Peter Reich and Sarah Hobbie monitored nearly 300 open-air plots planted with perennial grasses with varying levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and soil nitrogen.

"Rather than building a time machine and comparing how ecosystems behave in 2070 -- which is hard to do -- we basically create the atmosphere of 2070 above our plots," Reich says.

The results suggest that limited levels of fertility typical in most soils likely eliminate a large fraction of the capacity of plants to scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere, Reich says. "It would be better if there were experiments like ours in tropical rain forest, temperate forest, and tundra, to see how well responses there match with what we have found. But as such experiments do not exist, our results play an important role in addressing this issue for ecosystems everywhere."

Reich is a Regents professor in the forest resources department of the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and Hobbie is a professor in the ecology, evolution and behavior department in the College of Biological Sciences. Both are fellows of the university's Institute on the Environment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter B. Reich, Sarah E. Hobbie. Decade-long soil nitrogen constraint on the CO2 fertilization of plant biomass. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1694

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Too little nitrogen may restrain plants' carbon storage capability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002161950.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2012, October 2). Too little nitrogen may restrain plants' carbon storage capability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002161950.htm
University of Minnesota. "Too little nitrogen may restrain plants' carbon storage capability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002161950.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins