Great Basin Naturalist


Denitrification rates in soils of four subalpine plant communities in the Sierra Nevada were determined by the acetylene blockage method. The study area included riparian, meadow, forest, and barren sites. Data were collected during dawn-to-dusk measurements in April 1987. Soil atmosphere samples were analyzed for N2O content using gas chromatography. Generally, temporal variability in denitrification rate within each plant community was insubstantial. Denitrification rate and soil temperature were found to be significantly correlated only in the riparian and barren sites. Of the four communities, the riparian site was found to have the lowest rate of denitrification overall. However, differences among sites in denitrification rate could not be conclusively attributed to variation in soil temperature, moisture, organic matter, total C and N, C:N ratio, NO3-N, or pH.