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Soils of two climosequences in Russia were investigated by 31P-NMR spectroscopy. They comprised Dystric Podzoluvisols, Haplic Greyzems, Calcic Chernozems, and Gypsic Kastanozems, which are located along temperature and precipitation gradients of the Russian Plain. Another sequence of soils included forest Humic Cambisols and Umbric Leptosols of subalpine(More)
Net N mineralization, nitrification, microbial biomass N and 15N natural abundance were studied in a toposequence of representative soils and plant communities in the alpine zone of the northern Caucasus. The toposequence was represented by (1) low-productive alpine lichen heath (ALH) of wind-exposed ridge and upper slope; (2) more productive Festuca varia(More)
We ask how productivity responses of alpine plant communities to increased nutrient availability can be predicted from abiotic regime and initial functional type composition. We compared four Caucasian alpine plant communities (lichen heath, Festuca varia grassland, Geranium-Hedysarum meadow, snow bed community) forming a toposequence and contrasting in(More)
The evolution of plants has yielded a wealth of adaptations for the acquisition of key mineral nutrients. These include the structure, physiology and positioning of root systems. We report the discovery of specialized snow roots as a plant strategy to cope with the very short season for nutrient uptake and growth in alpine snow-beds, i.e. patches in the(More)
Snow roots are specialized structures recently discovered in the Caucasian alpine snow-bed plant Corydalis conorhiza. They form extensive networks that grow into snow packs against gravity, most probably to gather nitrogen from snow. Here we test the hypothesis that snow roots are true winter organs, i.e., they should already start growth early in winter to(More)
The ability of different alpine species to influence soil nutrient concentrations was quantified by growing monocultures of 17 species on a homogenized acid alpine soil mixture. The experiment was carried out at 2750 m a.s.l. in the Teberda Reserve, Northwest Caucasus. Soil nuturient contents (NH4, NO3, P, Ca, Mg, and K) and pH were analyzed after 6 years.(More)
Mycorrhizal ingrowth collars were used to study the effect of tree species on the seasonal dynamics of carbon dioxide flux from three major sources of soil respiration: (1) plant roots, (2) mycorrhizal hyphae, and (3) microorganisms. Distinct seasonality in carbon transport to mycorrhizae was revealed, with its highest values being observed during the(More)
Freezing-thawing of alpine meadow soils results in a 1.5- to 2-fold increase in the contents of extractable organic and inorganic nitrogen and organic carbon compounds, whereas the contents of microbial biomass nitrogen and carbon slightly decrease. The latter are quickly restored in the course of subsequent incubation, but the processes of transformation(More)