A recent article “Water controls on nitrogen transformations and stocks in an arid ecosystem” led by Lara Reichmann (see Publications) and published in Ecosphere showed novel interactions between water availability and nitrogen cycling. Net nitrogen mineralization was insensitive to changes in water availability but plant uptake was not. Consequently, mineral nitrogen accumulated under dry conditions because the mineralization was not affected while immobilization was constrained. The opposite was true, under wet conditions when mineral nitrogen was significantly reduced. The differential controls of water on inputs and outputs of mineral nitrogen yielded counterintuitive effects of water on leaching. Nitrogen leaching decreased with increasing precipitation driven more by nitrogen than water availability.
SARAS Workshop: “Abrupt grass-woodland transitions: Determinants and consequences for ecosystem services”