Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (5): 501-507.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0048

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of water level and light intensity on capsule production dynamics of Sphagnum capillifolium

YUAN Min, BU Zhao-Jun*(), LIU Chao, MA Jin-Ze, WANG Sheng-Zhong   

  1. State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory for Wetland Conservation and Vegetation Restoration, Institute for Peat and Mire Research, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2015-02-02 Accepted:2015-03-31 Online:2015-05-26 Published:2015-05-01
  • Contact: Zhao-Jun BU
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: Aims

Our objective was to analyze the effect of water levels and light intensities on capsule production dynamics of Sphagnum to lay the foundation for further research on its reproductive phenology.


Our selected Sphagnum capillifolium in this study. We set up a simulation experiment within a growth chamber and grew moss communities in polystyrene containers. Water levels and light intensities were altered to create different environmental conditions. Gametophores and capsule production were observed and recorded.

Important findings

Seta length, shoot height and capsule cracking rate increased when water level increased. Under high light intensities, capsule diameter and capsule cracking rate were higher. Water level and light intensity had an interactive effect on shoot height increment and capsule diameter. Water level and light intensity had no effect on capsule production rate. Increase in both water level and light intensity led to earlier spore release. Reproductive phenology advance can reduce the abortive risk of spores by avoiding detrimental environment conditions such as drought. After capsules dehisced, reproductive shoots were able to accelerate height growth to avoid shading to lay a foundation for further reproduction in the future.

Key words: Sphagnum, water level, light intensity, phenology

Fig. 1

Morphological change in Sphagnum capillifolium capsules. The capsule highlighted by the arrow is an example under low water level and weak light conditions. A, On July 21, a newborn spherical capsule is yellow, wrapped by perichaetial leaves and no seta developed. B, On August 2, a seta gradually formed and elongated and the capsule was dark brown. C, On August 6, the seta further extended and the capsule became red brown in color and thick cylindrical in shape. D, On August 8, after operculum falling off, spores released and the capsule became thin cylindrical in shape."

Table 1

Two-way ANOVA for effects of water level and light intensity on height increment and sporophyte morphology"

Water level
Light intensity
Water level × light intensity
F p F p F p
繁殖株高增长 Height increment of reproductive shoots 16.66 < 0.001** 0.21 0.651 7.26 0.008**
营养株高增长 Height increment of vegetative shoots 4.44 0.036* 1.21 0.273 6.08 0.015*
蒴柄长度 Seta length 10.32 0.002** 0.00 0.966 0.64 0.426
孢蒴直径 Capsule diameter 0.04 0.838 14.73 0.000** 13.77 < 0.001**

Fig. 2

Effect of water level and light intensity on shoot height increment (A) and sporophyte morphology (B) (mean ± SE). A, ambient light; H, high water level; L, low water level; W, weak light."

Table 2

Repetitive measurement and analysis of variance (ANOVA) for effects of water level and light intensity on capsule production dynamics"

Water level
Light intensity
Water level × light intensity
F p F p F p
孢蒴增长率 Capsule growth rate 0.74 0.403 0.62 0.443 0.23 0.636
孢蒴开裂率 Capsule cracking rate 5.80 0.037* 5.39 0.033* 0.24 0.554
孢蒴遮蔽率 Rate of capsules being shaded 11.82 0.003** 0.07 0.792 2.67 0.122

Table 3

Time needed for each stage of capsule production under different water level and light intensity (mean ± SD)"

Capsule formation→ Capsule maturation
Capsule maturation→ Seta maturation
Seta maturation→ Capsule dehiscing
高水位 High water level 11.0 ± 1.2 2.7 ± 1.2 2.3 ± 1.4
低水位 Low water level 12.1 ± 2.4 3.8 ± 1.9 4.1 ± 2.4
一般光强 Ambient light 10.4 ± 1.5 2.3 ± 1.4 2.5 ± 1.3
弱光强 Weak light 12.7 ± 1.7 3.4 ± 1.9 3.9 ± 2.5

Fig. 3

Effect of water level and light intensity on capsule cracking rate and shaded rate (mean ± SE). A, ambient light; H, high water level; L, low water level; W, weak light."

Fig. 4

Linear correlation between the number of new capsules and that of initial ones."

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