Shifts in bryophyte carbon isotope ratio across an elevation × soil age matrix on Mauna Loa, Hawaii: do bryophytes behave like vascular plants?
Soils and plants were sampled along an elevational gradient from 265–1675 m on a 133-and a 3100-year-old lava flow on Mauna Loa, Hawai'i. Soil organic matter and nutrients accumulated more rapidly at low elevation on the young flow, but reached higher levels at higher elevation on the old flow. Foliar nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were less and specific leaf weight greater for Metrosideros polymorpha leaves collected at high versus low elevations and on the young versus the old flow. Foliar δ13C was strongly correlated with specific leaf weight across the range of sites sampled.