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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 152576, 10 pages
Research Article

Response of Soil C and N, Dissolved Organic C and N, and Inorganic N to Short-Term Experimental Warming in an Alpine Meadow on the Tibetan Plateau

Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Received 2 April 2014; Revised 27 April 2014; Accepted 30 April 2014; Published 22 May 2014

Academic Editor: Felipe Bastida

Copyright © 2014 Cheng-Qun Yu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although alpine meadows of Tibet are expected to be strongly affected by climatic warming, it remains unclear how soil organic C (SOC), total N (TN), ammonium N , nitrate N , and dissolved organic C (DOC) and N (DON) respond to warming. This study aims to investigate the responses of these C and N pools to short-term experimental warming in an alpine meadow of Tibet. A warming experiment using open top chambers was conducted in an alpine meadow at three elevations (i.e., a low (4313 m), mid-(4513 m), and high (4693 m) elevation) in May 2010. Topsoil (0–20 cm depth) samples were collected in July–September 2011. Experimental warming increased soil temperature by ~1–1.4°C but decreased soil moisture by ~0.04 m3 m−3. Experimental warming had little effects on SOC, TN, DOC, and DON, which may be related to lower warming magnitude, the short period of warming treatment, and experimental warming-induced soil drying by decreasing soil microbial activity. Experimental warming decreased significantly inorganic N at the two lower elevations,but had negligible effect at the high elevation. Our findings suggested that the effects of short-term experimental warming on SOC, TN and dissolved organic matter were insignificant, only affecting inorganic forms.