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1 December 2006 Dynamics of mineral nitrogen released from feathermosses after dehydration or handling stress
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The capacity of feathermosses to release mineral N to water and eventually re-capture it back from the solution was periodically measured in several 64-hour tests. Mosses were collected from 13 locations in western Alberta, Canada, and given several pre-treatments in the days leading up to the submersion of mosses in aerated distilled water. In a factorial experiment, the pre-extraction conditions were fertilized or left as controls and kept moist or allowed to dehydrate. The concentration of mineral N in the solution was monitored by withdrawing small samples of the solution for colorimetric analysis at pre-determined time intervals. To assess the effects of microflora and handling damage to the moss tissues on the rate of N exchange between moss and solutions, the test was repeated firstly using a solution of antibiotics instead of water and secondly using mosses that were not given time to recover from handling. No perceptible leakage of N was recorded from fully hydrated moss tissues. Dehydrated mosses lost as much as 8% of their total N content to the solution within two hours after re-hydration, but had recovered two thirds of it within the next 16 hours. Moss tested immediately after normal handling released 0.7% of their total N and recovered it at the same rate as the desiccation-damaged mosses. Application of antibiotics affected neither leakage nor re-absorption rate. During the gradual drying of moss, N apparently shifted from NO3− to NH4 . The strong ability of mosses to quickly re-absorb released N from surrounding solutions suggests that leakage of N from dried moss after rewetting, as a source of N to the ecosystem, is not as large as suggested by previous literature.
N. A. Startsev and V. J. Lieffers "Dynamics of mineral nitrogen released from feathermosses after dehydration or handling stress," The Bryologist 109(4), (1 December 2006).[551:DOMNRF]2.0.CO;2
Received: 10 November 2005; Accepted: 1 June 2006; Published: 1 December 2006

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