Background: Changes in foliar nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) stoichiometry play important roles in predicting the effects of global change on ecosystem structure and function. However, there is substantial debate on the effects of P addition on foliar N and P stoichiometry, particularly under different levels of N addition. Thus, we conducted a global meta-analysis to investigate how N addition alters the effects of P addition on foliar N and P stoichiometry across different rates and durations of P addition and plant growth types based on more than 1150 observations.
Results: We found that P addition without N addition increased foliar N concentrations, whereas P addition with N addition had no effect. The positive effects of P addition on foliar P concentrations were greater without N addition than with N addition. Additionally, the effects of P addition on foliar N, P and N:P ratios varied with the rate and duration of P addition. In particular, short-term or low-dose P addition with and without N addition increased foliar N concentration, and the positive effects of short-term or low-dose P addition on foliar P concentrations were greater without N addition than with N addition. The responses of foliar N and P stoichiometry of evergreen plants to P addition were greater without N addition than with N addition. Moreover, regardless of N addition, soil P availability was more effective than P resorption efficiency in predicting the changes in foliar N and P stoichiometry in response to P addition.
Conclusions: Our results highlight that increasing N deposition might alter the response of foliar N and P stoichiometry to P addition and demonstrate the important effect of the experimental environment on the results. These results advance our understanding of the response of plant nutrient use efficiency to P addition with increasing N deposition.
Keywords: Ecological stoichiometry, Plant nutrient regime, Nutrient resorption efficiency, Soil N and P availability, Global change, Global synthesis