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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Jones, Jennifer Marie [1], Katie, Heineman [1], James, Dalling [2].

Variation in bark physical and chemical traits in a wet lower montane tropical forest.

Bark is important for sugar transport, defense against herbivory, mechanical support, and, in some ecosystems, protection from fire. While we know bark differs in appearance, thickness, and density, we know little about how bark nutrient concentrations vary. Because in tropical forests bark is approximately 8% of aboveground biomass, variation in bark nutrient concentrations could have a large impact on nutrient cycles in ecosystems. Here we ask: 1. Do trees allocate nutrients to bark based on soil nutrient availability? 2. Are bark thickness and bark nutrient concentrations inversely related? 3. What fraction of nutrients in aboveground biomass is stored in bark? We sampled bark from 23 tree species in a lower montane forest in Panama from two sites that differed in soil nutrient availability and rainfall. We analyzed bark thickness, bark density, and concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium in bark. We found that nutrient concentrations in bark were generally higher in high soil fertility sites. We detected differences in bark nutrient concentration within species found at both sites and in tree species community weighted averages. Also, we found a negative correlation between bark thickness and bark nutrient concentration. Lastly, we estimated that there was twice as much phosphorus (kg/ha) stored in bark in the high fertility site than the low fertility site. Phosphorus in bark accounted for approximately 20% of phosphorus in aboveground biomass. The findings in this experiment suggest that understanding variation in bark thickness and nutrients is critical for generating accurate ecosystem nutrient budgets.

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1 - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Integrative Biology, 265 Morrill Hall , 505 S Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL, 61801, USA
2 - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Plant Biology, 265 Morrill Hall, 505 S Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL, 61801, USA

Tropical forest.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 68
Location: Salon 8/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: 68004
Abstract ID:495
Candidate for Awards:None

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