Multiple Element Limitation in Northern Hardwood Ecosystems (MELNHE)

image of resin strips for quantifying soil N and P availability

This project examines nutrient co-limitation theory in northern hardwood forests in the White Mountain region of NH, in order to learn how forest ecosystems respond to interacting effects of forest management and chronic pollution. Air pollution in northeastern forest ecosystems has enriched soil with nitrogen, depleted soil calcium, and possibly reduced availability of phosphorus through acidification. Learning whether plants and soil organisms can adjust to these changes in order to maintain stoichiometric balance is essential for interpreting ecosystem responses and understanding the consequences of forest management practices.

image of preparing root foraging experiments
Our research examines mechanisms regulating nutrient limitation in a large-scale NxP nutrient enrichment experiment, and addresses the following objectives:

This is a large collaborative study with co-investigators from SUNY-ESF, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and the Marine Biological Center. More information can be found at the MELNHE website.

Related publications:

Ratliff, T.J., and M.C. Fisk. 2016. Phosphatase activity is related to N availability but not P availability across hardwood forests in the northeastern United States. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 94:61-69.

Fisk, M.C., S. Santangelo, and K.M. Minick. 2015. Carbon mineralization is promoted by phosphorus and reduced by nitrogen addition in the organic horizon of northern hardwood forests. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 81: 212-218.

Bae, K., T.J. Fahey, R.D. Yanai, and M.C. Fisk. 2015. Soil nitrogen availability affects belowground carbon allocation and soil respiration in northern hardwood forests of New Hampshire. Ecosystems DOI 10.1007/s10021-015-9892-7.

Rastetter, E.B., R.D. Yanai, R.Q. Thomas, M.A. Vadeboncoeur, T.J. Fahey, M.C. Fisk, B.L. Kwiatkowski, and S.P Hamburg. 2012. Recovery from disturbance requires resynchronization of ecosystem nutrient cycles. Ecological Applications 23:621-642.

Naples, B.K., and M.C. Fisk. 2010. Belowground insights into nutrient limitation in northern hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry 97:109–121.