University of Oulu

Virtanen, R., Bakker, J.D., Jessen, MT. et al. Is the bryophyte soil diaspore bank buffered against nutrient enrichment and grazing exclusion?. Plant Soil 477, 487–499 (2022).

Is the bryophyte soil diaspore bank buffered against nutrient enrichment and grazing exclusion?

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Author: Virtanen, Risto1,2,3; Bakker, Jonathan D.4; Jessen, Maria-Theresa2,3;
Organizations: 1Ecology & Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Physiological Diversity, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
3German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
4School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Box 354115, Seattle, WA, 98195-4115, USA
5Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, 105 Tucker Hall, Columbia, MO, 65211-740, USA
6Institute of Biology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-28


Purpose: Soil diaspore banks of bryophytes are poorly known in tundra grasslands, yet can be important for the maintenance of local bryophyte assemblages. We examined the effects of fertilization and grazing exclusion on above-ground bryophyte assemblages and soil diaspore banks in a tundra grassland.

Methods: We collected soil diaspore samples and recorded the cover of above-ground bryophytes from a full-factorial experiment with NPK fertilization and grazing exclusion treatments (a Nutrient Network site in NW Finland). Soil diaspore samples were germinated on trays in a greenhouse. We analyzed the compositions of diaspore bank assemblages and of above-ground assemblages and assessed their responses to the experimental treatments.

Results: The diaspore bank contained c. 50% of taxa found in above-ground assemblages; 26 bryophyte taxa germinated from the diaspore bank, while 40 taxa were found in the above-ground assemblages. These communities had distinct species compositions: the diaspore bank was dominated by Pohlia nutans, while above-ground assemblages were dominated by several species. NPK fertilization and grazing exclusion had negative effects on bryophyte richness and cover in above-ground assemblages, and weaker effects on these responses in the diaspore bank.

Conclusion: Soil diaspore banks comprise about half of the bryophyte taxa encountered in above-ground assemblages. Bryophyte diaspore banks are more buffered against nutrient enrichment and grazing exclusion than above-ground assemblages, suggesting that diaspore banks may enhance persistence and recovery of local bryophyte assemblages from environmental changes.

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Series: Plant and soil
ISSN: 0032-079X
ISSN-E: 1573-5036
ISSN-L: 0032-079X
Volume: 477
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 487 - 499
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-022-05450-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This project was funded by Academy of Finland (project 297191) to A.E. Kilpisjärvi Biological Station provided facilities during the field work, and the Botanical Gardens of University of Leipzig provided greenhouse facilities for the germination trial. We are grateful to Alvin Barth and Daniel Uhlig for their help with the germination trial. Soil pH analyses were supported, in part, by USDA-ARS grant 58-3098-7-007 to Elizabeth Borer (University of Minnesota). Open Access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 297191
Detailed Information: 297191 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Dataset Reference: The online version contains supplementary material available at
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