Enhanced nitrogen loss may explain alternative stable states in dune slack succession

E.B. Adema, J. Van de Koppel, H.A.J. Meijer, A.P. Grootjans

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Ecological theory emphasizes competitive interactions between plant species when explaining primary succession in plants. Ecosystem processes, such as nutrient accumulation, are often regarded as independent, steering successional changes without being affected by the interacting plant species. We present experimental evidence that plant species in wet dune slack systems are able to affect ecosystem processes in their favor by reducing the rate of nitrogen accumulation by coupled nitrificationdenitrification, promoting their competitive position. We compared denitrification rates of two early successional species having radial oxygen loss (ROL) with two non-ROL late successional species in a mesocosm experiment. The denitrification rates were significantly higher in mesocosms planted with early successional species Littorella uniflora (P
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)374-386
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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