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Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao. 2012 Aug;23(8):2157-64.

[Nitrogen fixation potential of biological soil crusts in southeast edge of Tengger Desert, Northwest China].

[Article in Chinese]

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Shapotou Desert Experimental Research Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou 730000, China.


Taking three typical types of biological soil crusts (BSCs), i.e., cyanobacterial-algal crust, lichen crust, and moss crust, in the southeast fringe of Tengger Desert as test objects, this paper studied their nitrogen fixation potential, seasonal fluctuation, and responses to the environmental factors from June 2010 to May 2011. During the whole study period, the nitrogenase activity (NA) of the cyanobacterial-algal, lichen, and moss crusts had significant difference, being 14-133, 20-101, and 4-28 micromol x m(-2) x h(-1), respectively, which indicated the critical role of the species composition of BSCs in nitrogen fixation. The NA of the three crust types had similar response characteristics to environmental factors. The NA had less correlation with the precipitation during the study period, but was positively correlated to the < 3 mm precipitation in the former 3 days of the experiment, indicating that the three types of BSCs could reach the maximum rate of nitrogen fixation under 3 mm precipitation. The NA of the three crust types had a significant quadratic functional relationship with air temperature, i.e., decreased after an initial increase. The NA of cyanobacterial-algal and lichen crusts declined rapidly when the temperature exceeded 30 degrees C, while the NA of moss crust began to decline when the temperature exceeded 25 degrees C, suggesting that different types of BSCs had different optimal temperature range of nitrogen fixation. The seasonal change of the NA of the three crust types was in the order of autumn > spring > summer > winter. The high air temperature in summer and the low air temperature (< 0 degrees C) in winter inhibited the NA of the crusts, while the suitable water and heat conditions in late spring and early autumn promoted the NA, which implied that the seasonal fluctuation of the NA was mainly controlled by the joint effect of the water and heat conditions. Under humid condition, the BSCs in the temperate desert zone had nitrogen fixation capacity throughout the year, and the controlling effects of environmental factors on the nitrogen fixation were hierarchical. Water condition was the key factor affecting the nitrogen fixation rate and duration of the crusts, while under the conditions of sufficient water supply and carbon storage, heat condition dominated the crusts nitrogen fixation rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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