Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

N2-fixing tropical legume evolution: a contributor to enhanced weathering through the Cenozoic?

Authors
  • Epihov, Dimitar Z1
  • Batterman, Sarah A2, 3
  • Hedin, Lars O4
  • Leake, Jonathan R5
  • Smith, Lisa M5
  • Beerling, David J5
  • 1 Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK [email protected]
  • 2 School of Geography and Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
  • 3 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Ancon, Panama. , (Panama)
  • 4 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
  • 5 Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences
Publisher
The Royal Society
Publication Date
Aug 16, 2017
Volume
284
Issue
1860
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0370
PMID: 28814651
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Fossil and phylogenetic evidence indicates legume-rich modern tropical forests replaced Late Cretaceous palm-dominated tropical forests across four continents during the early Cenozoic (58-42 Ma). Tropical legume trees can transform ecosystems via their ability to fix dinitrogen (N2) and higher leaf N compared with non-legumes (35-65%), but it is unclear how their evolutionary rise contributed to silicate weathering, the long-term sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Here we hypothesize that the increasing abundance of N2-fixing legumes in tropical forests amplified silicate weathering rates by increased input of fixed nitrogen (N) to terrestrial ecosystems via interrelated mechanisms including increasing microbial respiration and soil acidification, and stimulating forest net primary productivity. We suggest the high CO2 early Cenozoic atmosphere further amplified legume weathering. Evolution of legumes with high weathering rates was probably driven by their high demand for phosphorus and micronutrients required for N2-fixation and nodule formation.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times