Organic nitrogen and invasion in intermountain grasslands.

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Organic nitrogen and invasion in intermountain grasslands.

March 11, 2015

Morgan Luce McLeod and Beau Larkin present findings from an experiment investigating amounts of inorganic and organic N in invaded patches as compared to diverse native communities.

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Exotic plant invasion is commonly associated with increased plant biomass production, increased rates of nutrient cycling, and increased amounts of soil available nutrients such as nitrogen (N) (Liao et al. 2008).

I measured soil inorganic and organic N pools in a mixed native community and invaded near-monoculture patches of cheat grass, spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, and sulfur cinquefoil.

Photos above show ammonium (blue) and nitrate (pink) sample plates (left) and soil organic and inorganic nitrogen KCl extractions (right) in the lab.

Results and Conclusions

Conclusions Sulfur cinquefoil invaded soil and nearby native soil did not follow the pattern of the other invaders.