Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (1): 126-132.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0111

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of the spreading of Ligularia virgaurea on soil physicochemical property and microbial functional diversity

SHI Guo-Xi1,2,WANG Wen-Ying1,JIANG Sheng-Jing3,CHENG Gang3,YAO Bu-Qing2,FENG Hu-Yuan3,*(),ZHOU Hua-Kun2,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life Science and Geography, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China

    2 Key Laboratory of Restoration Ecology of Cold Area in Qinghai Province, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008

    3 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Cell Activities and Stress Adaptations, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Online:2018-01-18 Published:2018-01-20
  • Contact: Hu-Yuan FENG,Hua-Kun ZHOU;
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Foundation of China(31500427);Supported by the National Natural Foundation of China(31572354);Supported by the National Natural Foundation of China(31472135);the Province Natural Foundation of Qinghai(2016-ZJ-957Q);the Province Natural Foundation of Qinghai(2016-ZJ-910);the Qinghai Innovation Platform Construction Project(2017-ZJ-Y20);the National Key Research and Development Project of China(2016YFC0501901)


Aims Ligularia virgaurea is an indicator species of alpine meadow degradation. Recently, the vast spreading of L. virgaurea has brought the serious economic loss of grassland ecosystem, but it remains unclear whether soil microbes involve in the spreading of L. virgaurea.

Methods We chose four patches with different density of L. virgaurea to measure the influence of spreading of L. virgaurea on the functional diversity of soil microbial community in the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau.

Important findings The spreading of L. virgaurea increased soil microbial activity, but reduced soil available nitrogen concentration. The Shannon index, utilization number of carbon resource and evenness index of soil microbial community displayed no significant differences among patches, but the utilization structure of carbon resource in high density patch was significantly different from control patch. Our findings indicate that the limitation of soil nitrogen caused by the changing functional diversity of soil microbial community in the distributed sites is one of the mechanisms for the vast spreading of L. virgaurea in alpine meadow ecosystem.

Key words: Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, Ligularia virgaurea, population spreading, soil microbial community, functional diversity

Table 1

Plant properties in different patches (mean ± SE, n = 5)"

Ligularia vigaurea
density (Ind.·0.25 m-2)
Species richness
Total biomass
(g·0.25 m-2)
植物生物量比例 Proportion of plant biomass (%)
莎草类 Sedge 豆科 Legume 禾草类 Grass 杂草类 Forbs
对照斑块 Control 0 22.0 ± 1.1a 72.2 ± 11.9b 27.6 ± 2.9a 0.2 ± 0.1 29.3 ± 6.3a 42.8 ± 4.2b
低密度斑块 LD 8.8 ± 2.7c 22.0 ± 1.2a 86.7 ± 7.3b 11.7 ± 5.2ab 0.3 ± 0.1 17.9 ± 6.8b 70.1 ± 5.2ab
中密度斑块 MD 26.2 ± 1.4b 21.6 ± 1.3a 120.9 ± 11.3ab 10.5 ± 1.9b 0.5 ± 0.1 15.1 ± 2.9b 73.9 ± 6.9 a
高密度斑块 HD 49.0 ± 2.2a 16.4 ± 0.9b 146.7 ± 23.7a 15.4 ± 3.7ab 0.2 ± 0.1 2.6 ± 1.7b 81.8 ± 8.1 a

Table 2

Soil characteristics in different patches (mean ± SE, n = 5)"

moisture (%)
pH value
content (%)
Available nitrogen
Available Phosphorus
Available N/P
Total nitrogen (%)
carbon (%)
对照斑块 Control 35.5 ± 2.1 6.3 ± 0.2 20.1 ± 1.1 25.6 ± 3.1ab 4.3 ± 0.9 6.9 ± 1.52ab 0.5 ± 0.1 3.3 ± 0.4
低密度斑块 LD 39.2 ± 1.9 6.3 ± 0.2 19.1 ± 1.4 23.8 ± 1.2ab 2.8 ± 0.1 8.7 ± 0.71ab 0.5 ± 0.1 3.2 ± 0.1
中密度斑块 MD 36.1 ± 1.2 6.1 ± 0.2 17.8 ± 1.0 34.7 ± 4.4a 3.2 ± 0.4 11.2 ± 1.04a 0.6 ± 0.1 3.7 ± 0.4
高密度斑块 HD 41.3 ± 2.5 6.0 ± 0.2 17.5 ± 2.6 22.2 ± 1.6b 3.9 ± 0.6 6.2 ± 1.11b 0.6 ± 0.1 4.2 ± 0.5

Fig. 1

Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) ordination patterns of carbon resources utilization of soil microbial community lived in the rhizosphere of Ligularia virgaurea based on Bray-Curtis dissimilarity. Only some significant vectors (r2-values and p-values were shown on the right panels) at the 95% confidence level were displayed onto the NMDS ordination plots. Ellipses represent standard deviation among parallel samples. Control, control patch; LD, low density patch; MD, moderate density patch; HD, high density patch. AWCD, average well color development."

Fig. 2

Pure and shared effects of density of Ligularia virgaurea, plant species composition and plant biomass composition on the carbon resources utilization of soil microbial community. Numbers are derived from the variation partitioning analyses, and indicate the proportion of explained variations."

Fig. 3

Linear regression of density of Ligularia virgaurea versus average well color development (AWCD) (A), Shannon index (H) (B) and utilization number of carbon resources (C) of soil microbial community."

Fig. 4

Direct and indirect effects of plant species composition on density of Ligularia virgaurea, plant biomass composition, soil C/N ratio and average well color development (AWCD) of soil microbial community. The numbers above the arrows indicate path coefficients (λ ≥ 0.05 indicates significant pathway). GFI, goodness of fitted index."

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