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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (5): 749-759    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0012-0
Research Articles     
Effects of freezing intensity on soil solution nitrogen and microbial biomass nitrogen in an alpine grassland ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau, China
YANG Zhaoping1, GAO Jixi2*, YANG Meng1, SUN Zhizhong3
1 Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, School of EnvironmentalScience and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science&Technology, Nanjing  210044, China;
2 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Nanjing 210042, China;
3 State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute,Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Abstract  The change of freeze-thaw pattern of the Tibetan Plateau under climate warming is bound to have a profound impact on the soil process of alpine grassland ecosystem; however, the research on the impact of the freeze-thaw action on nitrogen processes of the alpine grassland ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau has not yet attracted much attention. In this study, the impact of the freezing strength on the soil nitrogen components of alpine grassland on the Tibetan Plateau was studied through laboratory freeze-thaw simulation experiments. The 0–10 cm topsoil was collected from the alpine marsh meadow and alpine meadow in the permafrost region of Beilu River. In the experiment, the soil samples were cultivated at –10°C, –7°C, –5°C, –3°C and –1°C, respectively for three days and then thawed at 2°C for one day. The results showed that after the freeze-thaw process, the soil microbial biomass nitrogen significantly decreased while the dissolved organic nitrogen and inorganic nitrogen significantly increased. When the freezing temperature was below –7°C, there was no significant difference between the content of nitrogen components, which implied a change of each nitrogen component might have a response threshold toward the freezing temperature. As the freeze-thaw process can lead to the risk of nitrogen loss in the alpine grassland ecosystem, more attention should be paid to the response of the soil nitrogen cycle of alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau to the freeze-thaw process.

Key wordsvertical profile      mass flux      aeolian sediment      wind erosion      Taklimakan Desert     
Received: 21 December 2015      Published: 15 June 2016

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31100337) and the Scientific Research Foundation of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology (2243141301132).

Corresponding Authors: GAO Jixi     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YANG Zhaoping, GAO Jixi, YANG Meng, SUN Zhizhong. Effects of freezing intensity on soil solution nitrogen and microbial biomass nitrogen in an alpine grassland ecosystem on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(5): 749-759.

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