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Forests 2017, 8(3), 73; doi:10.3390/f8030073

Elevated Atmospheric CO2 and Warming Stimulates Growth and Nitrogen Fixation in a Common Forest Floor Cyanobacterium under Axenic Conditions

Department of Biology, Western University, London, ON N6A 5B7, Canada
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Academic Editor: Jean-Philippe Bellenger
Received: 17 January 2017 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 8 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Feedbacks and Nitrogen Fixation in Forests)
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Abstract

The predominant input of available nitrogen (N) in boreal forest ecosystems originates from moss-associated cyanobacteria, which fix unavailable atmospheric N2, contribute to the soil N pool, and thereby support forest productivity. Alongside climate warming, increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected in Canada’s boreal region over the next century, yet little is known about the combined effects of these factors on N fixation by forest floor cyanobacteria. Here we assess changes in N fixation in a common forest floor, moss-associated cyanobacterium, Nostoc punctiforme Hariot, under elevated CO2 conditions over 30 days and warming combined with elevated CO2 over 90 days. We measured rates of growth and changes in the number of specialized N2 fixing heterocyst cells, as well as the overall N fixing activity of the cultures. Elevated CO2 stimulated growth and N fixation overall, but this result was influenced by the growth stage of the cyanobacteria, which in turn was influenced by our temperature treatments. Taken together, climate change factors of warming and elevated CO2 are expected to stimulate N2 fixation by moss-associated cyanobacteria in boreal forest systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon dioxide; climate change; forest floor; nitrogen fixation; Nostoc punctiforme; moss-associated cyanobacteria; warming carbon dioxide; climate change; forest floor; nitrogen fixation; Nostoc punctiforme; moss-associated cyanobacteria; warming
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Lindo, Z.; Griffith, D.A. Elevated Atmospheric CO2 and Warming Stimulates Growth and Nitrogen Fixation in a Common Forest Floor Cyanobacterium under Axenic Conditions. Forests 2017, 8, 73.

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