This dataset contains vegetation survey data, and nitrate and ammonium concentrations, nitrification and mineralisation rates, microbial biomass and carbon and nitrogen stock data from soils taken from an experiment based at Winklebury Hill, UK. The vegetation survey comprises total species percentage cover and species richness data from four 50 cm by 50 cm quadrats. Net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange, photosynthesis and respiration data were measured with an Infra-red Gas Analyser (IRGA); methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide data were measured using gas chromatography; nitrate and ammonium from soil samples extracted with potassium chloride; carbon and nitrogen from soils extracted with water; and carbon and nitrogen stocks measured through combustion analysis. The experiment used seeds and plug plants to create different plant communities on the bare chalk on Winklebury Hill and tested the resulting carbon and nutrient cycling rates and compared these to the characteristics of different plant functional groups. The experiment ran from 2013 to 2015 and this dataset contains data from 2015 only. This experiment was part of the Wessex BESS project, a six-year (2011-2017) project aimed at understanding how biodiversity underpins the ecosystem functions and services that landscapes provide.
Publication date: 2017-01-06
For greenhouse gas exchange flux, a time series correlation was calculated and low correlations removed (<70%). Outliers were also removed at the beginning and end of sample where appropriate. Calibrations at two levels were done for methane gas flux (at 14, and 33 ppm), carbon dioxide gas flux (at 500 and 1000 ppm) and nitrous oxide gas flux (at 200 and 370 ppm). For soil extractable nitrate and ammonium using potassium chloride and water, the analysis used 5% analytical replicates, recalibration (at 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 ppm) and blanks every 20 samples. For carbon and nitrogen extracted from ground soil extracts standards (acetanilide) and blanks were run every 20 samples. Standardised protocols were followed in all cases, details of which can be found in the supporting documentation.