Purpose of Review We provide an overview of the main processes occurring during the interactions between atmospheric nitrogen and forest canopies, by bringing together what we have learned in recent decades, identifying knowledge gaps, and how they can be addressed with future research thanks to new technologies and approaches. Recent Findings There is mounting evidence that tree canopies retain a significant percentage of incoming atmospheric nitrogen, a process involving not only foliage, but also branches, microbes, and epiphytes (and their associated micro-environments). A number of studies have demonstrated that some of the retained nitrogen can be assimilated by foliage, but more studies are needed to better quantify its contribution to plant metabolism and how these fluxes vary across different forest types. By merging different approaches (e.g., next-generation sequence analyzes and stable isotopes, particularly oxygen isotope ratios) it is now possible to unveil the highly diverse microbial communities hidden in forest canopies and their ability to process atmospheric nitrogen through processes such as nitrification and nitrogen fixation. Future work should address the contribution of both foliar nitrogen uptake and biological transformations within forest canopies to whole ecosystem nitrogen cycling budgets. Summary Scientists have studied for decades the role of forest canopies in altering nitrogen derived from atmospheric inputs before they reach the forest floor, showing that tree canopies are not just passive filters for precipitation water and dissolved nutrients. We now have the technological capability to go beyond an understanding of tree canopy itself to better elucidate its role as sink or source of nutrients, as well as the epiphytes and microbial communities hidden within them.

Canopy Exchange and Modification of Nitrogen Fluxes in Forest Ecosystems

Guerrieri, Rossella
;
Magnani, Federico
2021

Abstract

Purpose of Review We provide an overview of the main processes occurring during the interactions between atmospheric nitrogen and forest canopies, by bringing together what we have learned in recent decades, identifying knowledge gaps, and how they can be addressed with future research thanks to new technologies and approaches. Recent Findings There is mounting evidence that tree canopies retain a significant percentage of incoming atmospheric nitrogen, a process involving not only foliage, but also branches, microbes, and epiphytes (and their associated micro-environments). A number of studies have demonstrated that some of the retained nitrogen can be assimilated by foliage, but more studies are needed to better quantify its contribution to plant metabolism and how these fluxes vary across different forest types. By merging different approaches (e.g., next-generation sequence analyzes and stable isotopes, particularly oxygen isotope ratios) it is now possible to unveil the highly diverse microbial communities hidden in forest canopies and their ability to process atmospheric nitrogen through processes such as nitrification and nitrogen fixation. Future work should address the contribution of both foliar nitrogen uptake and biological transformations within forest canopies to whole ecosystem nitrogen cycling budgets. Summary Scientists have studied for decades the role of forest canopies in altering nitrogen derived from atmospheric inputs before they reach the forest floor, showing that tree canopies are not just passive filters for precipitation water and dissolved nutrients. We now have the technological capability to go beyond an understanding of tree canopy itself to better elucidate its role as sink or source of nutrients, as well as the epiphytes and microbial communities hidden within them.
Guerrieri, Rossella; Templer, Pamela; Magnani, Federico
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/853994
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