Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Mean annual temperature influences local fine root proliferation in tropical montane wet forest


Pierre, Suzanne et al. (2021), Data from: Mean annual temperature influences local fine root proliferation in tropical montane wet forest, Dryad, Dataset,


Mean annual temperature (MAT) is an influential climate factor affecting the bioavailability of growth-limiting nutrients nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). In tropical montane wet forests, warmer MAT drives higher N bioavailability, while patterns of P availability are inconsistent across MAT. Two important nutrient acquisition strategies, fine root proliferation into bulk soil and root association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, are dependent on C availability to the plant via primary production. The case study presented here tests whether variation in bulk soil N bioavailability across a tropical montane wet forest elevation gradient (5.2°C MAT range) influences 1) morphology fine root proliferation into soil patches with elevated N, P, and N+P relative to background soil and 2) arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) colonization of fine roots in patches. We created a fully factorial fertilized root ingrowth core design (N, P, N+P, unfertilized control) representing soil patches with elevated N and P bioavailability relative to background bulk soil. Our results show that percent AMF colonization of roots increased with MAT (r2=0.19, P=0.004), but did not respond to fertilization treatments. Fine root length (FRL), a proxy for root foraging, increased with MAT in N+P fertilized patches only (P=0.02), while other fine root morphological parameters did not respond to the gradient or fertilized patches. We conclude that in N-rich, fine root elongation into areas with elevated N and P declines while AMF abundance increases with MAT. These results indicate a tradeoff between P acquisition strategies occurring with changing N bioavailability, which may be influenced by higher C availability with warmer MAT.

Usage Notes

Hawaii Root Ingrowth Core Data 2017.