Navigation Links
Plant production could decline as climate change affects soil nutrients

As drylands of the world become even drier, water will not be the only resource in short supply. Levels of nutrients in the soil will likely be affected, and their imbalance could affect the lives of one-fifth of the world's population.

That includes people living in Arizona, who may be in for a dustier future.

The findings are presented in a study published in Nature that details how soil changes may occur and discusses the implications. Co-author Matthew Bowker, assistant professor of forest soils and ecosystem ecology at Northern Arizona University, was involved with the project since 2009.

Bowker explained that most of the 17 nutrients that plants need to grow to their potential are soil resources, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The statistical model he helped develop for the study suggests that as the climate becomes more arid, nitrogen will decrease and phosphorus will increase.

"Both are essential for plant growth, and both are typical components of fertilizer, but both need to be around in the right quantities for plant growth to proceed most efficiently," Bowker said.

"It's like a situation where you're making hamburgers but run out of beef. You can't just slip in another bun and still produce a hamburger."

Drylands, which are defined by predominantly lower levels of moisture, cover about 41 percent of the earth's surface. The study suggests that people who depend on those ecosystems for crops, livestock forage, fuel and fiber will find their resources increasingly restrained.

In Arizona, Bowker said, the projected decrease in plant production could magnify the impact of dust storms, which have been increasing in recent decades.

"We can probably expect more and more dust in the air," he said.

The project involved visits by research teams in 16 countries to 224 locations on every continent except Antarctica. Bowker led one of the sampling teams, which visited 10 study sites in northern Arizona and Utah. Those sites ranged from dry, grassy shrublands with low precipitation to relatively wet sagebrush ecosystems.

"This is a testament to the power of networked science," Bowker said, adding that it would have been "prohibitively expensive" for any one researcher or research group to complete the project.


Contact: Eric Dieterle
Northern Arizona University

Related biology news :

1. Simple plants arent always easy: Revision of the liverwort Radula buccinifera complex
2. The secret math of plants: UCLA biologists uncover rules that govern leaf design
3. Angel or demon: Can a potentially invasive plant bring a positive influence to a region?
4. Proteins in one of the worlds main biodiesel plants have been mapped -- and it does not look good
5. Why plants usually live longer then animals
6. South African living stone plant adapts to extreme conditions in new ways
7. Researchers show how plants tell the time
8. Study finds natural compound can be used for 3-D printing of medical implants
9. Model plant misled scientists about multicellular growth
10. Grazers and pollinators shape plant evolution
11. When cells eat their own power plants; Pitt scientists solve mystery of cellular process
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 Daon, a global leader in mobile ... a new version of its IdentityX Platform , ... America have already installed IdentityX v4.0 and ... FIDO UAF certified server component as an ... FIDO features. These customers include some of the largest ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... NEW YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 ... the major issues of concern for various industry verticals ... This is due to the growing demand for secure ... practices in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank ... concerns for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , Oct. 26, 2015  Delta ID Inc., ... authentication to mobile and PC devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® ... the arrows NX F-02H launched by NTT DOCOMO, INC ... F-02H is the second smartphone to include iris recognition ... in ARROWS NX F-04G in May 2015, world,s first ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, PhD, HCLD, has joined Texas Fertility Center as its ... procedures as well as continue his research efforts into the emerging technologies of embryo ... Zealand to bring home a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director named Tex,” says ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group announced ... clinics in the cities of Arica and Iquique in northern Chile. The facilities are part ... offer the most advanced protocols and techniques in stem cell medicine to patients from around ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, Inc. (HART) ... bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening conditions, today announced ... Stock Market that it has regained compliance with ... that as a result of the closing bid ... per share for more than ten consecutive business ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the ... acquired Cypher Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company ... software solutions. The San Diego -based ... Cypher CEO and Co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland , Ph.D., ...  Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: