ABSTRACT A better understanding of the mechanisms that control nutrient acquisition in the context of plant and ecosystem responses to climate change is needed. Mechanistic nutrient uptake models provide a means to investigate some of the impacts of temperature change on soil nutrient supply and root uptake kinetics through the simulation of key soil and plant processes. The NST 3.0 model, in combination with literature values on plant and soil parameters from a red spruce (Picea rubens L.) site in the southern Appalachians, was used to conduct a series of model simulations focused on the combined effects of changes to the maximal rate of nutrient influx at high concentrations (Imax), root growth rate (k), concentration of nutrient occurring in the soil solution (Cli), and the ability of the soil solid phase to buffer changes to the soil solution nutrient concentration (b). Previous research has indicated that these four parameters are responsive to changes in root zone temperature. Simulated uptake of NH4 increased by a factor of up to 2.6 in response to increases in soil temperature of 1°C to 5°C. The model also projected an increase in P uptake coupled with up to an 80% reduction in solution P concentration in response to a 1°C -5°C increase over a 147-d simulation period. These hypothetical changes, if validated, have interesting implications for plant growth and competition and point to a need for additional studies to better define the impacts of soil temperature on soil nutrient supply and root uptake.
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