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24 April 2008 Can atmospheric input of nitrogen affect seed bank dynamics in habitats of conservation interest? The case of dune slacks
Katharina Plassmann, Nigel Brown, M. Laurence M. Jones, Gareth Edwards-Jones
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Abstract

Questions: Does the increased atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, which can have major effects on the established vegetation of nutrient-poor habitats, also impact germination from the soil seed bank?

Location: Coastal dune slacks at Newborough Warren, Wales, UK.

Methods: The effects of nitrogen addition (15 kg.ha−1.a−1) on seed germination from the soil seed bank were investigated using the seedling emergence method between September 2004 and February 2005.

Results: More seedlings emerged from fertilised samples than unfertilised controls. Most species showed enhanced germination after fertilisation with nitrogen, with seedling numbers statistically significantly greater in nitrogen addition samples in a quarter of species abundant enough for analysis. Species that responded positively to fertilisation were species with low Ellenberg indicator values indicative of infertile sites.

Conclusions: Most species showed increased germination after fertilisation with nitrogen, including early successional species normally growing in nutrient-poor conditions. This suggests that the increased atmospheric deposition of nitrogen probably not only impacts on established vegetation, but also has the potential to alter seed bank dynamics.

Nomenclature: Stace (1997).

Katharina Plassmann, Nigel Brown, M. Laurence M. Jones, and Gareth Edwards-Jones "Can atmospheric input of nitrogen affect seed bank dynamics in habitats of conservation interest? The case of dune slacks," Applied Vegetation Science 11(3), 413-420, (24 April 2008). https://doi.org/10.3170/2008-7-18498
Received: 13 June 2007; Accepted: 1 February 2007; Published: 24 April 2008
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