Effects of water availability, nitrogen supply and atmospheric CO2 concentrations on plant nitrogen natural abundance values
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
The relative effects of soil N, water supply and elevated atmospheric CO2 on foliar delta-15N values were examined. Phalaris arundinacea L. (Holdfast) and Physalis peruviana L. (Cape Gooseberry) were grown for 80 d with three water availability treatments, two atmospheric CO2 concentrations and four N supply rates. Elevated CO2 increased total plant biomass and N for each treatment and decreased allocation to roots, leaf N concentrations and stomatal conductance. Leaves had less negative leaf delta-13C values under low water supply associated with decreased stomatal conductance and increased leaf N concentration, which decreased the ratio of intercellular to ambient CO2 concentration. The delta-15N value of the supplied nitrate (4.15‰) was similar to the value for Phalaris leaves (4.11‰), but Cape Gooseberry leaves were enriched (6.52‰). The effects of elevated CO2 on leaf delta-15N values were small, with Phalaris showing no significant change, while Cape Gooseberry showed a significant (P < 0.05) decline of 0.42 ‰. Variation in delta-15N values was unrelated to stomatal conductance, transpiration, differential use of N forms or denitrification. Plants with low foliar N concentrations tended to be depleted in 15N. We suggest that changes in N allocation alter foliar delta-15N values under different CO2 and water treatments.