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Slow decomposition of leaf litter from mature Fagus sylvatica trees promotes offspring nitrogen acquisition by interacting with ectomycorrhizal fungi [Journal of Ecology]

Keywords : below-ground N cycling, ectomycorrhizal fungi, Fagus sylvatica, leaf litter decomposability, microbial biomass N, microcosm experiment

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

1. Leaf litter chemistry and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are key drivers of the below-ground nitrogen (N) cycling within forest ecosystems. Their combined effects on litter decomposition and N competition between microbial decomposers and plants are still uncertain.
2. We conducted a glasshouse microcosm experiment with low or high ECM-colonized beech (Fagus sylvatica) saplings, growing with litter collected from old or young beech trees growing on the same loamy soil. After 6 months of growth, we investigated litter decomposition rates, microbial respiration and the N pools within leaf litter, soil (different pools), microbial and plant shoot biomass.(...)

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