Nitrogen concentrations in plant tissues can vary as a function of resource availability. Altered rates of plant growth and development under varying resource availabilities were examined to determine their effects on changes in whole-plant N use efficiency (NUE). Three species of old-field annuals were grown at broadly varying light, nutrient and water levels, and four species at varying atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Study results show highly variable N accrual rates when expressed as a function of plant age or size, but similar patterns of whole-plant N versus non-N biomass accrual over a wide range of environmental conditions. However, severely light-limited plants showed increased N versus biomass accrual for two of three species, and severely nutrient-limited plants had decreased N versus biomass accrual for all species. Whole-plant N accrual versus age and N versus biomass accrual increased under saturating water for two of three species. A marginally significant, modest decrease in N versus biomass accrual was found at high CO2 levels for two of four species. Physiological adjustments in NUE, expressed as N versus biomass accrual, were limited to environments with severely limited or overabundant resources.
- Old-field annuals
- Resource availability
- Tissue nitrogen concentration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science