g., seven of his ten most cited papers. Carl Olof Tamm had a classic broad training in natural science, and this breadth characterized his diverse contributions to forest ecology and issues in forest management. In the mid-20th century it was widely held that agricultural crops used nitrate as the primary form of nitrogen, and forest plants primarily used ammonium. Hesselman (1917) had shown that some forest plants on richer soils and in clearfellings contained nitrate in their leaves, leading him to conclude that nitrate must have come from the soil. This and other work elsewhere stimulated the idea that some plants were “nitrate plants” obligatory dependent
on this N source. Carl Olof tested this idea for his licenciate degree in Lund, (1947–48), by growing a prominent “nitrate plant”, fireweed (Chamaenerion (Epilobium) angustifolium L. Duvelisib mouse [Scop.]) on ammonium, nitrate, or ammonium selleck chemicals nitrate. Good growth was observed on all these N sources, refuting the idea that this species is obligatory dependent on nitrate ( Tamm, 1956). Today, our knowledge has expanded considerably and we know that amino acids are also major N sources for plants in temperate and boreal forests ( Näsholm et al., 2009). Carl Olof realised that the occurrence of nitrate in forest soils might not only be a matter of the presence of conditions conducive for nitrification, but also possibly reflect a low competition for N in the soil (i.e. a high
supply relative to the demand). Thus, he became interested in how differences in the nutrient
economies of plants could affect the local N Histone demethylase cycle, and chose a common carpet forming moss, Hylocomium splendens L., as the study object for his PhD thesis ( Tamm, 1953). He showed that moss growth was related to light supply under low light conditions, but nutrient supply was important when light was abundant. Importantly, he made careful estimates of the N supplied by throughfall ( Tamm, 1951) and the amount of N incorporated into moss biomass growth ( Tamm, 1950), which suggested that an unidentified external N source might be of importance. Carl Olof speculated that direct uptake of ammonia might occur, but N2-fixation by associated cyanobacteria ( de Luca et al., 2002) is another possibility. Tree nutrition became a focal area of Carl Olof’s work when he joined the Forest Research Institute and later the Royal College of Forestry. To study the relationship between different nutrients and tree growth, he established a large number of long-term nutrient addition experiments across Sweden. Foliar analysis was used as an important tool, which he mastered and developed (Tamm, 1964). Carl Olof’s nutrient addition experiments clearly revealed that a low availability of N limited tree growth in most trials across Sweden, but that additional growth could be obtained if other macro- and micronutrients were added as well (Tamm, 1991).