Biology and chemistry of a meadow-to-forest transition in the Central Oregon Cascades Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8g84mp260

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  • In this study, biological and chemical characteristics were determined for two high-elevation meadow-to-forest transitions located in the Central Oregon Cascades. The chloroform fumigation incubation method (CFIM) was used to determine microbial biomass C(MBC) and the N flush due to fumigation (NF), and meadow values were compared to forest values for each. Meadow and forest MBC values were also compared for estimates of MBC determined with microscopy and these values were compared to CFIM estimates. Net N mineralization and C mineralization were determined for an 85-d incubation period and used as a measure of labile C and N. Microbial biomass C and NF were then compared to these labile pools in order to investigate the relationship between the amount of each nutrient stored in biomass and the magnitude of the respective labile nutrient pool for each. Long-term and short-term net N mineralization rates and C/N ratios were also compared for meadow and forest soils, and the relationship between these two characteristics was examined. In general, microbial biomass estimates made with the CFIM method did not show any significant differences between meadow and forest soils. Mean MBC for both sites as determined by CFIM was estimated to be 369 and 406 μg C g⁻¹ soil in meadow and forest soils, respectively. Mean NF was estimated to be 37 and 56 μg N g⁻¹ soil in meadow and forest soils, respectively. MBC estimates made using microscopy showed biomass C to be greater in the forest than in the meadow. Mean MBC as determined by microscopy was estimated to be 529 and 1846 μg C g⁻¹ soil in meadow and forest soils, respectively. The NF measured as a percentage of the net N mineralized over 85 d was significantly greater in the forest than in the meadow soils, but was a substantial percentage in both. The means of these values were 30 and 166% in meadow and forest soils, respectively. This led to the conclusion that biomass N may be a very important pool of stored labile N in this ecosystem. Net N mineralization rates were almost always greater in the meadow than in the forest soils. Net N mineralization for the 10-d incubations averaged 21 μg N g⁻¹ soil in the meadow and 8 μg N g⁻¹ soil in the forest Rates for long-term N mineralization averaged 126 μg N g⁻¹ soil in the meadow and 52 μg N g⁻¹ soil in the forest. Net N mineralization rates were correlated with C/N ratios for both short-term and long-term incubations.
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