Context - The evaluation of changes in litter decomposition rate due to increasing trend in tropospheric ozone is an emerging field of investigation, providing relevant information on long-term forest ecosystem sustainability. Aims - This research aims to clarify the effects of ozone exposure on Quercus ilex leaf chemical composition and decomposition slow down. Methods - Young plants were fumigated in growth chambers at a cumulative dose of 17.15 ppm h. To assess the fumigation effectiveness, stomatal conductance and net photosynthesis were monitored. Leaves were analysed for C, N, S, Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Zn, Mn, total soluble sugars, starch, acid-detergent fibre (ADF), lignin and cellulose prior to the incubation in litter bags in mesocosms, and during decomposition along 395 days. Results - Ozone-exposed leaves showed a significant reduction in net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance but did not differ from control leaves in all the chemical parameters analysed. Nevertheless, leaf decomposition rate was lower in treated leaves. The main differences between the models describing the mass loss in exposed and control leaves were played by ADF for exposed leaves and by lignin for control leaves, as well as by N, that showed a greater contribution in the model for the exposed leaves. Conclusion - Ozone fumigation of Q. ilex results in leaf litter decomposition slowing down, mainly due to ADF joint dynamics with the other variables describing mass decay, even if no detectable changes in initial leaf composition occur.

Ozone fumigation of Quercus ilex L. slows down leaf litter decomposition with no detectable change in leaf composition

BALDANTONI, Daniela;BELLINO, ALESSANDRO;ALFANI, Anna
2013

Abstract

Context - The evaluation of changes in litter decomposition rate due to increasing trend in tropospheric ozone is an emerging field of investigation, providing relevant information on long-term forest ecosystem sustainability. Aims - This research aims to clarify the effects of ozone exposure on Quercus ilex leaf chemical composition and decomposition slow down. Methods - Young plants were fumigated in growth chambers at a cumulative dose of 17.15 ppm h. To assess the fumigation effectiveness, stomatal conductance and net photosynthesis were monitored. Leaves were analysed for C, N, S, Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Zn, Mn, total soluble sugars, starch, acid-detergent fibre (ADF), lignin and cellulose prior to the incubation in litter bags in mesocosms, and during decomposition along 395 days. Results - Ozone-exposed leaves showed a significant reduction in net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance but did not differ from control leaves in all the chemical parameters analysed. Nevertheless, leaf decomposition rate was lower in treated leaves. The main differences between the models describing the mass loss in exposed and control leaves were played by ADF for exposed leaves and by lignin for control leaves, as well as by N, that showed a greater contribution in the model for the exposed leaves. Conclusion - Ozone fumigation of Q. ilex results in leaf litter decomposition slowing down, mainly due to ADF joint dynamics with the other variables describing mass decay, even if no detectable changes in initial leaf composition occur.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4027900
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