Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (2): 184-196.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0018

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• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Application of stable hydrogen isotope in study of water sources for Caragana microphylla bushland in Nei Mongol

ZHENG Xiao-Ran1,2, ZHAO Guo-Qin2, LI Xiao-Yan1,2,*(), LI Liu2, WU Hua-Wu2, ZHANG Si-Yi2, ZHANG Zhi-Hua2   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    and 2College of Resources Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2014-07-07 Accepted:2014-12-09 Online:2015-03-10 Published:2015-02-01
  • Contact: Xiao-Yan LI E-mail:xyli@bnu.edu.cn
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

Caragana microphylla is a dominant shrub widely distributed in the grasslands of Nei Mongol. Its water utilization pattern has an important effect on local plant community composition. However, the water source for C. microphylla remains poorly quantified, which is vital in understanding the adaptation of this specie to arid environment. This study aims to investigate the dynamics of water use in C. microphylla and its response to soil water fluctuations resulting from precipitation pattern including summer rains and winter snow.

<i>Methods</i>

Seasonal variations of hydrogen stable isotope ratios (δD) in the xylem of C. microphylla and potential sources of water (summer rains, winter snow and soil water) were analyzed by LGR hydrogen stable isotope tracer method. The contribution of soil water to C. microphylla was calculated by IsoSource model and the contribution of rainfall to soil water was calculated by a two-source model.

<i>Important findings</i>

The xylem of C. microphylla (xylem) showed no seasonal differences in δD, whereas there were significant differences in the water source of plants between two contrasting hydrological environments. In habitats where rainfall was shielded off, C. microphylla mainly used the soil water at depth of 0-20 cm, which accounted for 73.30% ± 16.14% of the total water usage; whilst under natural conditions, water uptake by C. microphylla was more or less similar at the depths of 0-20 cm, 20-60 cm and 60-100 cm, accounting for 34.66% ± 7.83%, 32.44% ± 7.42%, 32.90% ± 4.14% of the total water usage, respectively. Competition for water between shrubs and grasses gave a possible explanation for different water utilization patterns of the plants. In addition, rainfall accounted for 42.65%-63.92% of the water sources for C. microphylla. Resultsin this study demonstrated that C. microphylla used both summer rains and winter snow, and dynamics of water use in C. microphylla reflects its adaptation to the water-limiting arid environment.

Key words: source of water use, deuterium isotope, Caragana microphylla, plant water use

Fig. 1

Photographs showing experimental treatments of rain-exclusion (A) and natural (B) conditions."

Fig. 3

Plots of δD versus δO18 values of precipitation, soil water and plant water in the study area and global meteoric water line. δD, hydrogen stable isotope ratios; δO18, oxygen stable isotope ratios."

Fig. 2

Changes of rainfall during growing season (A) and monthly changes of precipitation and hydrogen stable isotope ratios (δD) (B) in the experimental field in 2013 (mean ± SD)."

Table 1

Features of six precipitation events"

日期
Date
(month-day)
降水量
Precipitation
(mm)
降水强度
Precipitation
intensity
(mm·h-1)
δD (‰) 月平均δD
(平均值±标准偏差)
Monthly average
δD (‰)
(mean ± SD)
6-9 6.6 0.2 -54.01 -48.20 ± 46.20
6-14 4.2 1.0 -5.89 -48.20 ± 46.20
7-8 15.6 1.2 -10.01 -42.80 ± 26.50
7-12 2.0 0.2 -38.47 -42.80 ± 26.50
8-8 6.2 3.6 -38.10 -50.84 ± 32.52

Fig. 4

Density of Caragana microphylla roots at different soil depths (mean ± SD)."

Fig. 5

Soil water content at different soil depths following rainfall events under rain-exclusion and natural conditions (mean ± SD)."

Table 2

Seasonal variation of hydrogen stable isotope ratio (δD, ‰) in soil water (mean ± SD)"

土壤深度
Soil depth (cm)
遮雨处理 Rain-exclusion treatment
日期 Date (month-day)
4-20 6-11 6-15 7-8 7-14 8-9
0-5 -151.46 ± 17.39a -109.92 ± 30.98a -93.19 ± 35.33a -82.37 ± 6.97a -82.53 ± 18.76a -85.90 ± 4.45a
5-10 -140.87 ± 27.79a -132.75 ± 34.01a -125.13 ± 22.85a -111.30 ± 1.96ab -96.05 ± 16.53a -97.08 ± 12.39ab
10-20 -116.40 ± 5.83abc -144.64 ± 7.83a -137.39 ± 25.87a -124.57 ± 15.03abc -110.08 ± 36.13a -98.74 ± 16.74ab
20-40 -89.31 ± 1.60c -163.35 ± 30.89a -148.37 ± 32.38a -152.23 ± 16.11bc -132.06 ± 9.74b -119.34 ± 22.01abc
40-60 -92.37 ± 29.59c -154.73 ± 39.10a -143.87 ± 41.27a -155.80 ± 13.31c -142.22 ± 9.81bc -128.18 ± 17.92bc
60-80 -101.28 ± 16.09bc -138.64 ± 42.40a -136.51 ± 37.99a -166.77 ± 21.93c -154.07 ± 0.23c -138.05 ± 12.59c
80-100 -88.28 ± 13.99c -133.77 ± 29.10a -111.70 ± 14.02a -140.27 ± 18.60b -150.10 ± 10.17c -145.18 ± 0.42c
总计 Total -111.42 ± 28.30 -139.69 ± 28.91 -129.43 ± 30.40 -133.33 ± 30.28 -123.87 ± 29.85 -114.16 ± 23.93
土壤深度
Soil depth (cm)
自然状态 Natural condition
日期 Date (month-day)
4-20 6-11 6-15 7-8 7-14 8-9
0-5 -161.74 ± 1.21a -80.65 ± 11.33a -46.96 ± 14.16a -44.55 ± 7.54a -39.07 ± 4.72a -73.09 ± 3.86a
5-10 -145.11 ± 7.93a -116.48 ± 0.62b -82.27 ± 16.08ab -55.23 ± 22.23a -58.54 ± 18.07ab -83.77 ± 0.03ab
10-20 -129.67 ± 41.18a -143.01 ± 12.45c -108.05 ± 23.09b -75.70 ± 19.69ab -80.23 ± 14.00bc -80.38 ± 18.94a
20-40 -143.43 ± 33.96a -135.82 ± 8.17c -100.7 ± 20.72b -119.97 ± 19.88c -109.48 ± 9.59c -113.12 ± 21.33b
40-60 -137.41 ± 38.22a -111.21 ± 3.98b -103.35 ± 32.47b -124.08 ± 16.14c -115.16 ± 30.70c -103.35 ± 16.54ab
60-80 -106.92 ± 32.80a -103.74 ± 8.42b -93.11 ± 8.75ab -115.80 ± 10.20bc -100.41 ± 13.57c -91.16 ± 4.62ab
80-100 -111.89 ± 21.70a -109.07 ± 5.05b -87.31 ± 17.86ab -129.67 ± 20.34c -92.01 ± 8.95bc -100.55 ± 0.26ab
总计 Total -135.54 ± 28.58 -114.28 ± 20.77 -88.82 ± 24.72 -95.00 ± 36.50 -84.59 ± 30.37 -92.24 ± 17.18

Table 3

Contribution of rainfall to soil water at different depths under natural conditions"

土壤深度
Soil depth
(cm)
日期 Date (month-day) 平均值
Mean
6-11 6-15 7-8 7-14 8-9
0-5 76.22% 74.36% 77.87% 99.53% 72.65% 80.13%
5-10 44.25% 52.31% 71.02% 84.27% 64.31% 63.23%
10-20 20.57% 36.21% 57.90% 75.03% 66.96% 51.33%
20-40 26.99% 40.80% 29.53% 44.34% 41.37% 36.61%
40-60 48.95% 39.15% 26.90% 39.89% 39.87% 38.95%
60-80 55.62% 45.54% 32.21% 51.45% 58.53% 48.67%
80-100 50.86% 49.16% 23.32% 58.03% 51.19% 46.51%

Fig. 6

Comparison of hydrogen stable isotope ratio (δD) in Caragana microphylla between two sampling sites (mean ± SD)."

Fig. 7

Comparisons of hydrogen stable isotope ratio (δD) for plants and soil water at different depths in different months."

Fig. 8

Contribution of soil water at different depths to plant water."

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