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Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus supply on growth and flowering phenology of the snowbed forb Gnaphalium supinum L

  • Alessandro, Petraglia
  • Marcello, Tomaselli
  • Andrea, Mondoni
  • Lisa, Brancaleoni
  • Michele, Carbognani
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Accepted Date
Mar 13, 2014
DOI: 10.1016/j.flora.2014.03.005


The warming-induced increase in nutrient mineralization and the further increase in atmospheric nitrogen depositions raise the topic of whether and how alpine plants will react to enhanced nutrient availability. Despite several studies have shown the effects of fertilization on primary production of alpine plants, only few studies have considered the influences of nutrients on reproduction. Here, we investigated the effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) amendments on cover, number of ramets, flowering effort and phenological timing of Gnaphalium supinum, an arctic-alpine widespread snowbed species. We set up an experimental design with four fertilization treatments (Low N, P without additional N, Low N+P, and High N+P) and an unfertilized control for three years (2003-2005), within a late snowbed located in the Italian Alps (Gavia Pass, 2700 m a.s.l.). The cover of Gnaphalium supinum was recorded at the peak of the aboveground biomass development in the three years, while the temporal dynamic of ramet density and reproductive phenophases were monitored during the 2005 growing season. The clonal growth of G. supinum resulted to be co-limited by N and P, while the flowering effort was stimulated by P. Flowering date was advanced by P supply, while N alone did not show any significant effect on phenology. In a warming scenario, with a predicted increase in N and P availability by nutrient mineralisation and atmospheric deposition, this species should probably experience some benefits for its growth and reproduction if not limited by other factors such as the length of the growing season or interspecific competition.

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