Quantifying Soil Phosphorus Dynamics: A Data Assimilation Approach

Enqing Hou, Xingjie Lu, Lifen Jiang, Dazhi Wen, Yiqi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The dynamics of soil phosphorus (P) control its bioavailability. Yet it remains a challenge to quantify soil P dynamics. Here we developed a soil P dynamics (SPD) model. We then assimilated eight data sets of 426-day changes in Hedley P fractions into the SPD model, to quantify the dynamics of six major P pools in eight soil samples that are representative of a wide type of soils. The performance of our SPD model was better for labile P, secondary mineral P, and occluded P than for nonoccluded organic P (Po) and primary mineral P. All parameters describing soil P dynamics were approximately constrained by the data sets. The average turnover rates were labile P 0.040 g g−1 day−1, nonoccluded Po 0.051 g g−1 day−1, secondary mineral P 0.023 g g−1 day−1, primary mineral P 0.00088 g g−1 day−1, occluded Po 0.0066 g g−1 day−1, and occluded inorganic P 0.0065 g g−1 day−1, in the greenhouse environment studied. Labile P was transferred on average more to nonoccluded Po (transfer coefficient of 0.42) and secondary mineral P (0.38) than to plants (0.20). Soil pH and organic C concentration were the key soil properties regulating the competition for P between plants and soil secondary minerals. The turnover rate of labile P was positively correlated with that of nonoccluded Po and secondary mineral P. The pool size of labile P was most sensitive to its turnover rate. Overall, we suggest data assimilation can contribute significantly to an improved understanding of soil P dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2159-2173
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2019


  • data assimilation
  • phosphorus fractionation
  • soil phosphorus availability
  • soil phosphorus dynamics
  • turnover rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Palaeontology


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