Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (4): 450-460.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0193

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Plant nutrient dynamics and stoichiometric homeostasis of invasive species Spartina alterniflora and native Cyperus malaccensis var. brevifolius in the Minjiang River estuarine wetlands

Li-Ling JIANG1, Cong-Sheng ZENG2,3, Jun-Jiong SHAO4, Xu-Hui ZHOU1,*()   

  1. 1Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China

    2College of Geographical Science, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
    3Subtropical Wetland Research Center, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
    4School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2016-06-07 Accepted:2017-01-03 Online:2017-05-19 Published:2017-04-10
  • Contact: Xu-Hui ZHOU


Aims Stoichiometric homeostasis is an important mechanism in maintaining ecosystem structure, function, and stability. The invasion of exotic species, Spartina alterniflora, has largely threatened the structure and function of native ecosystems in the Minjiang River estuarine wetland. However, how S. alterniflora invasion affect plant stoichiometric homeostasis is largely unknown. This could enhance our understanding on wetland ecosystem stability and expand the applications of ecological stoichiometry theory.
Methods Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contents of plant organs and soils in the S. alterniflora, Cyperus malaccensis var. brevifolius, and S. alterniflora-C. malaccensis var. brevifolius mixture were measured, and the homeostatic index (H) was calculated according to the stoichiometric homeostasis theory.
Important findings Our results showed that the invasion of S. alterniflora significantly increased soil N:P ratio (p < 0.05), but did not affect soil N or P contents. The N and P contents of leaf and stem were the highest for S. alterniflora, and those of the stem were the highest for C. malaccensis var. brevifolius. At the ecosystem level, the average of homeostatic index (H) of N (HN, 25.31) was larger than those of P (HP, 10.33) and N:P (HN:P, 2.50). At the organ level, root HN was significantly larger than stem HN (p < 0.05) and sheath HN:P was greater than root HN:P (p < 0.05), while there was no significant difference for HP among root, stem, leaf, and sheath (p > 0.05). As for species, root HN of S. alterniflora was significantly larger than that of C. malaccensis var. brevifolius in the mixture community (p < 0.05). In the monoculture, stem HN:P of S. alterniflora was significantly higher than that of C. malaccensis var. brevifolius (p < 0.05). Furthermore, root HN, leaf HN and sheath HN of S. alterniflora in the mixed community was significantly larger than that of S. alterniflora in the monoculture (p < 0.05), suggesting that S. alterniflora invasions increased their stoichiometric homeostasis. Meanwhile, the stoichiometric homeostasis of invasive and native plants were influenced by multiple factors, such as nutrients, organs, vegetation, and invasion. However, larger homeostasis was found in S. alterniflora than in C. malaccensis var. brevifolius in some particular organs either in mixture or monoculture communities. Therefore, the successful invasion of S. alterniflora may result from higher homeostatic index than the native species, C. malaccensis var. brevifolius.

Key words: biological invasion, nutrient dynamics, ecological stoichiometric homeostasis, ecosystem function, Minjiang River estuary wetland

Fig. 1

Location of the sampling site."

Fig. 2

Dynamic of N, P and N:P in plant organs and soils across the three community types (mean ± SE, n = 4). CM, Cyperus malaccensis var. brevifolius community; CMMC, C. malaccensis var. brevifolius in mixed community; MC, S. alterniflora-C. malaccensis var. brevifolius mixture community; SA, Spartina alterniflora community; SAMC, S. alterniflora in mixed community."

Table 1

The correlation coefficients between soil and plant organs in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentration of three community types"

Plant in community type
土壤N含量 Soil N concentration 土壤P含量 Soil P concentration
根N Root N 茎N Stem N 叶N Leaf N 鞘N Sheath N 根P Root P 茎P Stem P 叶P Leaf P 鞘P Sheath P
SAMC -0.177 0.503* 0.023 0.297 -0.099 0.443* 0.087 0.156
SA 0.290 0.701** -0.032 0.537* -0.598** 0.182 -0.544* -0.287
CMMC 0.195 0.653** - - 0.051 0.332 - -
CM 0.433 0.538* - - 0.073 -0.079 - -

Fig. 3

The homeostatic index (H) in different element, organ and plant types (mean ± SE, n = 4). Different lowercase letters denote significant differences among different factors. The abbreviations are the same as in Fig. 2."

Fig. 4

The homeostatic index (H) of N, P and N:P in plant organs across the three community types (mean ± SE, n = 4). Different lowercase letters denote significant differences among different factors. The abbreviations are the same as in Fig. 2."

Fig. 5

The homeostatic index (H) for different organs and plants in N, P and N:P (mean ± SE, n = 4). Different lowercase letters denote significant differences among different factors. The abbreviations are the same as in Fig. 2."

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