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Silicon in tropical forests : large variation across soils and leaves suggests ecological significance

Title data

Schaller, Jörg ; Turner, Benjamin L. ; Weissflog, Anita ; Pino, Delicia ; Bielnicka, Aleksandra W. ; Engelbrecht, Bettina:
Silicon in tropical forests : large variation across soils and leaves suggests ecological significance.
In: Biogeochemistry. Vol. 140 (2018) Issue 2 . - pp. 161-174.
ISSN 1573-515X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-018-0483-5

Abstract in another language

Silicon (Si) has a variety of functions in plants, including alleviation of drought and light stress, defense against herbivores and pathogens, and improving plant nutrition. However, for tropical forests our knowledge about the role of silicon and its variation in soils and plants remains limited. To advance our insights into the potential role of Si in tropical forest ecology, we combined observational and experimental approaches to assess (i) variation in soluble and amorphous Si concentrations in tropical forest soils at the local and regional scale, and their relation to soil weathering stage, soil chemistry, and rainfall, (ii) variation of foliar Si concentrations across more than 30 co-occurring woody species, and (iii) intra-specific variation of foliar Si across sites and foliar habits (sun and shade). We found considerable (27-fold) variation in soluble Si (extracted in 0.01 M CaCl2) across soils, which reflected soil weathering stage and chemistry, but not rainfall. Foliar Si also varied markedly across species, both in naturally occurring trees and in a common garden experiment, with 39% of the most abundant species being classified as Si accumulators. Within species, foliar Si varied among sites and foliar habits, but relationships were inconsistent across species. The marked variability of Si concentrations in soils and leaves indicates that Si is likely to play an important yet underappreciated role for a variety of ecological processes in tropical forests.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER153037
Keywords: Barro Colorado Island; Panama; Functional ecology; Silica; Tropical soils; Plant-available; Amorphous; Trait variation; Trees
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Plant Ecology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Plant Ecology > Professor Plant Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bettina Engelbrecht
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professor Environmental Geochemistry Group
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professor Environmental Geochemistry Group > Professor Environmental Geochemistry - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Britta Planer-Friedrich
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 10:41
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 10:42
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53947