Research Applications

Polar regions are expected to experience dramatic effects from global climate change.  The magnitude of change is uncertain, but current trends show increased soil temperature, acceleration of nutrient turnover, and changes in plant community composition.
Sullivan and Sveinbjörnsson (2010) used PRS® Probes in tussock tundra to measure macro and micronutrients between tussocks, inter-tussocks, and frost boils.  They investigated whether white spruce established in tussocks, inter-tussocks, or frost boils disproportionately to habitat availability.  Tussocks had higher N, P, and K, but frost boils had higher Ca, Mg, S, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn.  White spruce seedlings grew in tussocks (48%) and frost boils (8%) disproportionately to availability of tussocks (22%) and frost boils (2%).  This may have been a result of both warmer soil temperatures and higher nutrient availability in the tussocks and frost boils.

Nutrient supply rates (μg cm-2 82 days-1) between June 7 and August 28, 2008 in tussocks, inter-tussocks, and frost boils within the treeline.

Standard errors appear within parentheses and different superscript letters indicate significant differences within elements across habitat types.