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    Nutrient resorption from senescing tissue is a key mechanism for plants to conserve nutrients, and can affect the nutrient dynamics of ecosystems. Yet, our limited knowledge of nitrogen (N) resorption and release from mosses hampers our understanding of the role of mosses as N sources and, thereby, N cycling in moss-dominated ecosystems. The aims of this study were to estimate N resorption efficiency (NRE) of two moss species, identify the pathways of N release from the mosses and to provide a better understanding of N cycling and budgeting strategies of mosses. The dynamics of N allocation along annual moss segments of two dominant moss species (Actinothuidium hookeri and Hylocomium splendens) were assessed in old-growth fir forests using an in situ15N tracer experiment. The NRE of A. hookeri and H. splendens was 61 and 52 %, respectively. While the mosses lost 23 and 33 % N from live tissues via leaching, 15 and 14 % of N remained in senesced tissues (>3 years old) in A. hookeri and H. splendens, respectively. Both mosses resorbed the majority of their tissue N, but a considerable amount of N was lost from live segments. Our results highlight the crucial role mosses play as N sinks in ecosystems, since N retention (resorbed and sequestered in senescent tissue) outweighed N loss via leaching. However, the sink strength depends on temperature and precipitation, which will change in a future climate. The values for NRE, leaching, etc. estimated here can help improve biogeochemical models aiming to complete N budgets for moss-abundant ecosystems. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


    Xin Liu, Zhe Wang, Xiaoming Li, Kathrin Rousk, Weikai Bao. High nitrogen resorption efficiency of forest mosses. Annals of botany. 2020 Mar 29;125(4):557-563

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    PMID: 31840155

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