Nitrogen and carbon contents of fine roots were studied for 92 alpine plant species in the Northwest Caucasus. Nitrogen content ranged from 0.43% (Bromus variegatus) to 3.75% (Corydalis conorhiza) with mean value 1.3%. Carbon content ranged from 40.3% (Corydalis conorhiza) to 51.7% (Empetrum nigrum) with mean value 43.4%. C:N ratio was found to be 34:1 which is higher than the worldwide mean. Eudicot's roots had higher N concentration (1.37 +/- 0.07) than monocot's ones (0.95 +/- 0.09). Among the life forms, carbon content increased in the following order: geophytes < hemicriptophytes < chamaephytes. Specific root length positively correlated with nitrogen root content and negatively--with carbon root content. Species with larger leaves and higher specific root area had more nitrogen and less carbon in roots in comparison with species with small leaves. There were positive correlations between leaf and root nitrogen, as well as carbon, contents. Regrowth rate; seed size, aboveground biomass, and vegetation mobility were not related with root nitrogen content. Our results corroborate the poor and rich soil adaptation syndromes. Species of competitive and ruderal (sensu Grime) strategies are more typical for alpine meadows and snow bed communities. They had higher nitrogen contents in leaves and roots, larger leaves with higher water content and higher rate of seed production. On the other hand, stress-tolerant plants had higher carbon and less nitrogen concentrations in their roots and leaves, smaller leaves and specific leaf area.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Zhurnal obshcheǐ biologii|
|Publication status||Published - May 2013|