Tracing Si-N-P ecosystem-pathways : is relative uptake in riparian vegetation influenced by soil waterlogging, mowing management and species diversity?
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Hydrobiologia. - The Hague
, p. 41-50
University of Antwerp
Despite the growing concern about the importance of silicon (Si) in controlling ecological processes in aquatic ecosystems, little is known about its processing in riparian vegetation, especially compared to nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). We present experimental evidence that relative plant uptake of N and P compared to Si in riparian vegetation is dependent on mowing practices, water-logging and species composition. Results are obtained from a controlled and replicated mesocosm experiment, with a full-factorial design of soil water logging and mowing management. In our experiments, the Si excluding species Plantago lanceolata was dominant in the mown and non-waterlogged treatments, while Si accumulating meadow grasses and Phalaris arundinacea dominated the waterlogged treatments. Although species composition, management and soil moisture interacted strongly in their effect on relative Si:N and Si:P uptake ratios, the uptake of N to P remained virtually unchanged over the different treatments. Our study sheds new light on the impact of riparian wetland ecosystems on nutrient transport to rivers. It indicates that it is essential to include Si in future studies of the impact of riparian vegetation on nutrient transport, as these are often implemented as a measure to moderate excessive N and P inputs.