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Harvard Forest Data Archive

HF330

Nitrogen Deposition and Pitcher Plant Morphology in Massachusetts and Vermont 1998-1999

Related Publications

Data

Overview

  • Lead: Aaron Ellison, Nicholas Gotelli
  • Investigators:
  • Contact: Aaron Ellison
  • Start date: 1998
  • End date: 2000
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Massachusetts, Vermont
  • Latitude: 41.25 to 45
  • Longitude: -73.5 to -70
  • Elevation: 1 to 543 meter
  • Taxa: Sarracenia purpurea (northern pitcher plant)
  • Release date: 2019
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.330.1
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions; regional studies
  • LTER core area: primary production, inorganic nutrients, disturbance
  • Keywords: atmospheric deposition, carnivorous plants, nitrogen, morphology, photosynthesis
  • Abstract:

    Atmospheric transport and deposition of nutrients, especially nitrogen, is a global environmental problem with well-documented consequences for ecosystem dynamics. However, monitoring nitrogen deposition is relatively expensive, monitoring stations are widely spaced, and estimates and predicted impacts of nitrogen deposition are currently derived from spatial modeling and interpolation of limited data. Bogs are nutrient-poor ecosystems that are especially sensitive to increasing nutrient input, and carnivorous plants, which are characteristic of these widespread ecosystem types, may be especially sensitive indicators of N deposition. Botanical carnivory is thought to have evolved in nutrient-poor and well-lit habitats such as bogs because the marginal benefits accruing from carnivory exceed the marginal photosynthetic costs associated with the maintenance of carnivorous organs. However, the production of carnivorous organs can be a phenotypically plastic trait. The northern pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea, produces leaves specialized for prey capture and nutrient uptake (pitchers) and leaves that are more efficient at photosynthesis (phyllodia). We hypothesized that relative allocation to these two types of leaves reflects ambient nitrogen availability. We manipulated nutrient availability to plants with leaf enrichment and whole-plot fertilization experiments. Increased nitrogen, but not phosphorus, reduced production of pitchers relative to phyllodia; this result provided empirical support for the cost–benefit model of the evolution of botanical carnivory. Because this phenotypic shift in leaf production occurs in ecological time, our results suggest that S. purpurea could be a reliable and inexpensive biological indicator of nitrogen deposition rates. This suggestion is supported by field observations across a geographic gradient of nitrogen deposition.

  • Methods:

    Direct effects of nitrogen additions on S. purpurea morphology

    In May 1998, we randomly selected 90 adult (rosette diameter ≥10 cm) S. purpurea plants at Hawley Bog, Massachusetts. We randomly assigned each of these plants to one of nine different nutrient treatments: two control treatments (distilled H2O or 10% concentration of micronutrients only from Hoagland’s solution); two N treatments (0.1 mg or 1.0 mg NH4-N/liter as NH4Cl); two phosphorus (P) treatments (0.025 mg or 0.25 mg PO4-P/liter as NaH2PO4); and three treatments in which we altered the N:P ratio. All N and P treatments also received micronutrients as 10% Hoagland’s solution.

    Every two weeks during the growing seasons (June 1 to September 30) of 1998, 1999, and 2000, 5 ml of the assigned nutrient solution was added directly to each open pitcher on each plant. pH of pitcher water in the experimental plants during the growing season remained within the range (3.5–5.5) observed in control pitchers. After each nutrient addition, leaves were plugged with glass wool to prevent colonization by common pitcher inhabitants and capture of prey. All leaves were measured in mid-September every year, before senescence. Pitcher height was measured with a flexible vinyl tape (±1 mm), and mouth diameter, tube width, and keel width were measured with calipers (±0.1 mm). Data: hf330-01-amax-morphology.csv

    In September 1998 and 1999 after measurements, the largest leaf on each plant was clipped, dried at 70 °C for 3–5 days, and individually weighed and ground for nutrient analysis at the University of Vermont Agricultural and Environmental Testing Laboratory. Carbon and N content of the finely ground, dried samples were determined using a Leeman Lab model 440 CHN elemental analyzer. Mineral content was determined on microwave-digested samples using a Perkin-Elmer Optima 3000 DV inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) atomic emission spectrometer. Data: hf330-02-leaf-stoichiometry.csv

    Photosynthetic rates (μmol of CO2 m-2 s-1) of the largest leaf on all surviving plants (n = 73) in the nutrient addition experiment were measured between 20 June and 3 July 2000, by using a Li-Cor Li-6200 photosynthesis system and custom-built 4-liter chamber. All measurements were made between 0900 and 1400 h, under ambient solar radiation that exceeded the light saturation point for S. purpurea (photosynthetic photon flux density >800 μmol m-2 s-1). Data: hf330-01-amax-morphology.csv

    Simulated N deposition

    We conducted a second experiment in which we established experimental plots that contained S. purpurea and sprayed each plot with solutions of NH4NO3. Nine 2 × 2 m plots, each with 1–3 S. purpurea individuals, were established at Molly Bog, Vermont. Each plot was randomly assigned in a regression design to a different treatment: 0, 0.01, 0.025, 0.05, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.5 g N/m2 to be added over the growing season. We applied N as NH4NO3 in solution by using a backpack sprayer every 3 weeks from May 8 to September 11, 2000. P and K also were added to each plot as KH2PO4 to produce an application of 5 and 6.3 g/m2, respectively, over the growing season. In mid-September 2000, we measured the morphology of the largest S. purpurea leaf on each plant. Data: hf330-03-simulated-deposition.csv

    Sarracenia purpurea as a biological indicator of N deposition

    We surveyed 26 bogs across Massachusetts and Vermont during the summer of 2000 (see dataset HF147-07 for geographic information about each site). At each bog, we measured the largest leaf of 25 randomly selected S. purpurea individuals and collected 5 samples of pore water by pressing a 50-ml sterile centrifuge tube into the Sphagnum mat. Tubes filled with water within 10 s. Concentration of NH4 and NO3 in pore water was determined by using salicylate and cadmium reduction spectrophotometry, respectively. In general, NO3 was below detection levels of instruments. Data: hf330-04-indicator-morphology.csv, hf330-05-indicator-chemistry.csv

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Ellison A, Gotelli N. 2019. Nitrogen Deposition and Pitcher Plant Morphology in Massachusetts and Vermont 1998-1999. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF330.

Detailed Metadata

hf330-01: amax morphology

  1. date: date
  2. plantnum: individual plant number
  3. stage: stage
    • A: adult
  4. treat: treatment type
    • con: control
    • dH2O: distilled water only
    • High-N: high N
    • High-P: high P
    • Low-N: low N
    • Low-P: low P
    • Micros: Hoagland’s solution of micronutrients only
    • N:P(1): N:P(1)
    • N:P(2): N:P(2)
    • N:P(3): N:P(3)
  5. leaflen: pitcher length, measured from the base of the pitcher to the top of the hood (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  6. leafwid: maximum pitcher width, measured from the midrib and including the keel (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  7. keelwid: maximum width of the keel, from its outer edge to the edge of the pitcher tube (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  8. mouthdiam: larger diameter of the elliptical pitcher mouth (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  9. area: leaf area of the flattened pitcher (unit: squareCentimeters / missing value: NA)
  10. par: photosynthetically active radiation (PPFD in μmol m-2 s-1) (unit: micromolePerMeterSquaredPerSecond / missing value: NA)
  11. pmax: maximum area-based photosynthetic rate (μmol of CO2 m-2 s-1) (unit: micromolePerMeterSquaredPerSecond / missing value: NA)
  12. conductance: area-based stomatal conductance (μmol of CO2 m-2 s-1) (unit: micromolePerMeterSquaredPerSecond / missing value: NA)

hf330-02: leaf stoichiometry

  1. year: year (1998 or 1999)
  2. plantnum: individual plant number
  3. stage: stage
    • A: adult
    • J: juvenile
  4. treat: treatment
    • con: control
    • dH2O: distilled water only
    • High-N: high N
    • High-P: high P
    • Low-N: low N
    • Low-P: low P
    • Micros: Hoagland’s solution of micronutrients only
    • N:P(1): N:P(1)
    • N:P(2): N:P(2)
    • N:P(3): N:P(3)
  5. mass: mass of tissue sample used for tissue nutrient analysis (unit: kilogram / missing value: NA)
  6. pct.c: carbon concentration in leaf sample (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  7. pct.h: hydrogen concentration in leaf sample (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  8. pct.n: nitrogen concentration in leaf sample (percent) (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  9. ca: calcium concentration in leaf sample (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  10. p: phosphorus concentration in leaf sample (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  11. mg: magnesium concentration in leaf sample (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)
  12. k: potassium concentration in leaf sample (unit: milligramPerKilogram / missing value: NA)

hf330-03: simulated deposition

  1. plot: plot number
  2. n: nitrogen added (unit: gramsPerSquareMeter / missing value: NA)
  3. plant: plant number
  4. leaf: leaf number
  5. leaflen: leaf length, measured from the base of the pitcher to the top of the hood (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  6. liplen: thickness of the pitcher lip (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  7. leafwid: maximum leaf width, measured from the midrib and including the keel (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  8. keelwid: maximum width of the keel, from its outer edge to the edge of the pitcher tube (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  9. diam1: larger diameter of the elliptical pitcher mouth (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  10. diam2: smaller diameter of the elliptical pitcher mouth, measured perpendicular to diam1 (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)

hf330-04: indicator morphology

  1. year: year (2000)
  2. state: state
    • MA: Massachusetts
    • VT: Vermont
  3. code: site name code. See related link "Ant Distribution and Abundance in New England since 1990", hf147-07-ant-sites-1999-2000.csv, for site names, codes, and geographic information
  4. quadrat: sampled quadrat number
  5. leaflen: leaf length, measured from the base of the pitcher to the top of the hood (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  6. diam: larger diameter of the elliptical pitcher mouth (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  7. leafwid: maximum leaf width, measured from the midrib and including the keel (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  8. keelwid: maximum width of the keel, from its outer edge to the edge of the pitcher tube (unit: millimeter / missing value: NA)
  9. rosette.diam: maximum diameter of the rosette (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  10. pitchers: number of pitchers (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  11. phyllodes: number of phyllodes (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  12. repro: reproductive status
    • BUDAB: aborted bud
    • FL: flower
    • FLAB: flower aborted
    • FLHERB: flower eaten by herbivore
    • FR: mature fruit
    • FRHERB: fruit eaten by herbivore
    • NONE: no evidence of reproduction

hf330-05: indicator chemistry

  1. code: site name code. See related link "Ant Distribution and Abundance in New England since 1990", hf147-07-ant-sites-1999-2000.csv, for site names, codes, and geographic information
  2. sample: water sample number (1-3)
  3. ph: pH of the water sample (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  4. nh4: concentration of ammonium in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  5. no3: concentration of nitrate in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  6. ph4: concentration of phosphate in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)
  7. ca: concentration of calcium in water sample (unit: milligramsPerLiter / missing value: NA)