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Influence of nitrogen availability on plant morpho-pbysiological attributes in physiognomies of restinga of Southeastearn Brazil

Grant number: 10/50954-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2010 - June 30, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Luiz Antonio Martinelli
Grantee:Luiz Antonio Martinelli
Home Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Restingas are located marginally to Atlantic Tropical Rainforest and cover the sandy coastal plains of Brazilian seashore. They are ecosystems with elevated physiognomic and structural diversity, and grow under a series of limiting environmental conditions, including nutritional one. Nitrogen is a limiting factor for plant productivity and development, and variations on environmental conditions (such as substrate nature and water availability) may influence on this nutrient's cycling patterns, altering the fitness of the individuals and, consequently, of the whole ecosystem. Such alterations are reflected in foliar attributes, which have being considered good descriptors of processes in many levels of biologic organization, as they help to characterize and compare the ecophysiological attributes of different plant individuals and species throughout gradients of resource availability and environmental conditions. These information may provide knowledge in modeling the long-term ecosystem functioning under changing environmental conditions. Thus, we aim in this project to compare the nitrogen use strategies of three restinga vegetation formations which have distinct physiognomy and structure and grow under different precipitation regimes. Consequently we will evaluate the ecosystems' functioning regarding nitrogen cycling and some morpho-physiological attributes related to nitrogen use strategy and photosynthesis of the 20 most important tree species of the three areas. (AU)