Syntrichia caninervis dominates species in moss crusts in many northern hemisphere desert ecosystems, which are facing disturbance from increasing N deposition. Zhang et al. give evidence from simulated N deposition experiments suggesting that low amounts of added N increase shoot length and leaf size of S. caninervis, whereas high doses reduce almost all growth parameters. Moss shoot density increased but population biomass decreased with high N.
Responses of physiological parameters were similar to the growth indices. Therefore, low amounts of added N (0–0.5 g N m–2 year–1) may enhance moss growth and vitality, while higher amounts have detrimental effects.