Aims: In deserts, moss-dominated crusts may play an important role in terrestrial-aquatic and aboveground-belowground connections. Despite its importance, very little is known about moss’s role in biogeochemical cycles and how nutrient pulses (e.g., from N deposition in air pollution) will affect their functional significance as an integrator of nutrient cycling in deserts.
Methods: Moss and soil were sampled from 15 sites in the Sonoran Desert in and around Phoenix, covering the city core subject to N deposition and rural areas to the east and west. Samples were analyzed for C, N, P and micronutrient content to compare moss stoichiometry over a gradient of soil resource availability.
Results: Moss %N and %P were positively correlated with soil N and P. Thus, sites in the city core subject to N deposition tended to have higher soil N and therefore higher moss N than the sites outside the city core. Micronutrient content varied with sampling region but was not related to soil content.
Conclusions: Results suggest that moss can take up excess N,, but overall coverage of moss is lower in the city, limiting its ability to act as a N sink.
- Aboveground-belowground interactions
- Desert soils
- Sonoran Desert
- Terrestrial-aquatic interface
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science
- Plant Science