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Ellison Abstract- 2005 Wakefield et al

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Wakefield, A. E., N. J. Gotelli, S. E. Wittman, & A. M. Ellison. 2005. The effect of prey addition on nutrient stoichiometry, nutrient limitation, and morphology of the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea (Sarraceniaceae). Ecology 86: 1737-1743.


The carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea receives nutrients from both captured prey and atmospheric deposition, making it a good subject for the study of ecological stoichiometry and nutrient limitation. We added prey in a manipulative field experiment and measured nutrient accumulation in pitcher plant tissue and pitcher liquid, as well as changes in plant morphology, growth, and photosynthetic rate. Prey addition had no effect on traditional measures of nutrient limitation (leaf morphology, growth, or photosynthetic rate). However, stoichiometric measures of nutrient limitation were affected, as the concentration of both N and P in the leaf tissue both increased with the addition of prey. Pitcher fluid pH and nitrate concentration did not vary among treatments, although dissolved oxygen levels decreased and ammonia levels increased with prey addition. Ratios of N:P, N:K, and K:P in pitcher-plant tissues suggest that prey additions shifted these carnivorous plants from P-limitation under ambient conditions to N-limitation with the addition of prey.

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