Influence of climate variability on plant production and N-mineralization in Central US grasslands

J. E. Barrett, R. L. McCulley, D. R. Lane, I. C. Burke, W. K. Lauenroth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We assessed the influence of annual and seasonal climate variability over soil organic matter (SOM), above-ground net primary production (ANPP) and in situ net nitrogen (N) mineralization in a regional field study across the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) North American mid-latitude transect (Koch et al. 1995). We hypothesized that while trends in SOM are strongly correlated with mean climatic parameters, ANPP and net N-mineralization are more strongly influenced by annual and seasonal climate because they are dynamic processes sensitive to short-term variation in temperature and water availability. Seasonal and monthly deviations from long-term climatic means, particularly precipitation, were greatest at the semi-arid end of the transect. ANPP is sensitive to this climatic variability, but is also strongly correlated with mean annual climate parameters. In situ net N-mineralization and nitrification were weakly influenced by soil water content and temperature during the incubation and were less sensitive to seasonal climatic variables than ANPP, probably because microbial transformations of N in the soil are mediated over even finer temporal scales. We found no relationship between ANPP and in situ net N-mineralization. These results suggests that methods used to estimate in situ net N-mineralization are inadequate to represent N-availability across gradients where microbial biomass, N-immobilization or competition among plants and microbes vary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2002

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • ANPP
  • Annual variation
  • Central Grasslands region
  • Environmental gradient
  • IGBP Transect
  • Mineralization
  • Nitrogen flux
  • Seasonal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of climate variability on plant production and N-mineralization in Central US grasslands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this