|Title||Global-scale similarities in nitrogen release patterns during long-term decomposition|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Authors||Parton, WJ, Silver, WL, Burke, IC, Grassens, L, Harmon, ME, Currie, WS, King, JY, Adair, EC, Brandt, LA, Hart, SC, Fasth, B|
Litter decomposition provides the primary source of mineral nitrogen (N) for biological activity in most terrestrial ecosystems. A 10-year decomposition experiment in 21 sites from seven biomes found that net N release from leaf litter is dominantly driven by the initial tissue N concentration and mass remaining regardless of climate, edaphic conditions, or biota. Arid grasslands exposed to high ultraviolet radiation were an exception, where net N release was insensitive to initial N. Roots released N linearly with decomposition and exhibited little net N immobilization. We suggest that fundamental constraints on decomposer physiologies lead to predictable global-scale patterns in net N release during decomposition.