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Nutrient Cycling and Limitation: Hawai'i as a Model System

By: Peter M Vitousek

223 pages, 10 b/w photos, 84 illus, 18 tabs

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Dec 2004 | #144961 | ISBN: 069111580X
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NHBS Price: £44.95 $60/€51 approx
Hardback | Dec 2004 | #144962 | ISBN: 0691115796
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About this book

Integrating research from geochemistry, pedology, atmospheric chemistry, ecophysiology, and ecology, Vitousek addresses fundamental questions: How do the cycles of different elements interact? How do biological processes operating in minutes or hours interact with geochemical processes operating over millions of years? How does biological diversity interact with nutrient cycling and limitation in ecosystems? The Hawaiian Islands provide the author with an excellent model system for answering these questions as he integrates across levels of biological organization.

[Vitousek's] work began by understanding the interactive controls over nutrient limitation after forest disturbance. In Nutrient Cycling and Limitation, Vitousek explores this theme on a grand canvas, basing it on his own work and that of a small army of students and collaborators... This book will reward reading and re-reading, and is an excellent introduction to biogeochemical ecology for those coming from other fields of science. -- David Schimel Nature One of the most impressive aspects of Nutrient Cycling and Limitatio is the scope of the material it covers, and the extent to which the material is integrated to provide a truly ecosystem-level overview, that is itself placed neatly within a global context... [T]he book provides a wide-ranging and authoritative coverage of a crucial topic. -- Graeme Hastwell Austral Ecology Peter Vitousek's Nutrient Cycling and Limitation makes an important contribution to the field of biogeochemistry... [An] excellent book... Nutrient Cycling and Limitation is essential reading for students and scientists interested in terrestrial biogeochemistry. It is a model of good science writing and a crisp and clear introduction to some of the big ideas that intrigue ecosystem ecologists. -- Jerry Melillo Bioscience


List of Tables xi List of Figures xiii Preface xix Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: The Hawaiian Islands as a Model Ecosystem 6 Model Systems 6 Microcosms and Well-studied Systems 8 A Brief Natural History 9 The Formation of the Hawaiian Islands 9 Determinants of Climate 15 Isolation 19 Evolution, Conservation, and Culture 20 Evolution and Speciation 20 Conservation Biology 22 Cultural Evolution 22 Chapter Three: Gradients in Environmental Factors, Gradients in Ecosystems 24 The State Factor Framework 24 Environmental Gradients as Model Systems 26 Temperature 27 Precipitation 29 The Mauna Loa Matrix 30 A Substrate Age Gradient across the Hawaiian Islands 31 Age Control 35 Climate History 35 Basic Features of the Gradient 39 Chapter Four: Patterns and Processes in Long-term Ecosystem Development 42 A Theory for Nutrient Dynamics during Ecosystem Development 42 Biogeochemical Processes on the Substrate Age Gradient 45 Soil P Pools 45 C and N Pools 45 Available Nutrients 46 Foliar Nutrients 49 Forest Productivity 51 Efficiencies of Resource Use 53 Decomposition and Nutrient Regeneration 59 Soil Organic Matter Turnover 66 Plant-Soil-Microbial Feedbacks 66 Chapter Five: Experimental Studies of Nutrient Limitation and the Regulation of Nutrient Cycling 70 Fertilization Experiments 71 Nutrient Limitation 74 Nutrient Availability and Plant-Soil-Microbial Feedback 78 Tissue Nutrient Concentrations 78 Productivity 78 Resource Efficiencies 79 Decomposition 84 Nutrient Regeneration 87 Controls of Plant-Soil-Microbial Feedback 87 Chapter Six: Nutrient Inputs to Hawaiian Ecosystems: Pathways, Rates, and Controls 92 Inputs of Elements 92 Weathering 93 Concepts and Definitions 93 Approaches 94 Element Inputs via Weathering 97 Atmospheric Inputs 98 Background 98 Deposition Measurements 100 Inputs of Water 101 Nitrogen Inputs 101 Influence of an Active Volcano 102 Inputs of Other Elements 103 Long-Distance Dust Transport 105 Background 105 Methods 105 Element Inputs 106 The Fate of Dust 107 Biological N Fixation 109 Background 109 Approach 109 Rates of Fixation 110 Other Inputs 110 Combined Inputs by All Known Pathways 111 Strontium Isotopes: A Direct Test of Input Pathways 112 Chloride and Sulfate 114 Mobile Cations 114 Silicon and Aluminum 116 Nitrogen and Phosphorus 117 Chapter Seven: Nutrient Outputs: Pathways, Controls, and Input-Output Budgets 121 Output Pathways 122 Leaching 122 N-Containing Trace Gases 124 Erosion 126 Other Pathways of Loss 126 Rates and Controls of N and P Losses 128 Input-Output Budgets 133 Budget Calculations 134 Using These Element Budgets 142 Chapter Eight: Issues and Opportunities 143 Interactions of Time Scales 143 An Exploratory Model 143 Supply versus Demand 144 Plant-Soil-Microbial Feedbacks 146 Sources and Sinks 148 Inputs and Outputs 150 Interactions across Scales 152 The Regulation of Nutrient Inputs and Outputs 154 Demand-Independent Pathways of Element Loss 155 Implications of Demand-Independent Nutrient Losses 159 Stoichiometry and Flexibility 160 Within-System Element Cycling 162 Inputs and Outputs 169 Biological N Fixation 173 Differences in Populations, Species, and Diversity 177 Biological Differences and Ecosystem Functioning 177 Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning 184 Three Final Points 188 References 191 Index 219

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Peter M. Vitousek is Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies at Stanford University.

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