Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (12): 1154-1167.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0214

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Leaf C, N, and P concentrations and their stoichiometry in peatland plants of Da Hinggan Ling, China

LI Rui1,HU Chao-Chen1,XU Shi-Qi1,WU Di1,DONG Yu-Ping1,SUN Xin-Chao1,MAO Rong2,3,WANG Xian-Wei2,*(),LIU Xue-Yan1,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
    2 Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
    3 College of Forestry, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, China
  • Received:2018-08-27 Revised:2018-12-03 Online:2019-04-04 Published:2018-12-20
  • Contact: WANG Xian-Wei,LIU Xue-Yan ORCID: 0000-0003-1097-151, LI Rui ORCID: 0000-0002-1793-7997;
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41471056);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41522301);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41730855);the National Key R & D Program of China(2016YFA0600802)


Aims Leaf carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) concentrations and their stoichiometry can provide a basis for plant nutrient status and element limitation. Our objective was to explore variations of leaf C:N:P stoichiometry in plants of different growth forms.

Methods We analyzed leaf C, N, and P concentrations in three graminoids (Eriophorum vaginatum, Carex globularis, Deyeuxia angustifolia), five deciduous shrubs (Betula fruticosa, Salix myrtilloides, Salix rosmarinifolia, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Vaccinium uliginosum), and three evergreen shrubs (Ledum palustre, Chamaedaphne calyculata, Rhododendron capitatum) across 18 peatland sites in the Da Hinggan Ling, northeastern China.

Important findings (1) Leaf C, N, and P concentrations were higher, and the leaf C:N, C:P, and N:P values were lower, in deciduous and evergreen shrubs than in graminoids, indicating that plants of different growth forms had different nutrient utilization strategies. Shrubs had higher C, N and P storage and lower N and P use efficiency than graminoids. (2) Leaf N:P values in Deyeuxia angustifolia and R. capitatum were less than 10, and their leaf N concentrations were lower than the global mean leaf N concentration, indicating that those species were limited by N more than other plants. (3) The sampling sites explained 12.8%-40.8% of the variations in leaf C, N, and P stoichiometry, and plant species explained 9.3%-25.5%. (4) Graminoids had greater inter-site coefficient of variance (CV) values in leaf C, N, and P variables than deciduous and evergreen shrubs, indicating greater sensitive to site factors. (4) The inter-species CV values in leaf N were greater in graminoids than in deciduous and evergreen shrubs, and the inter-species CV values in leaf P were greater in deciduous shrubs than in graminoids and evergreen shrubs, indicating greater physiological differentiation in N and P use strategies in graminoids and deciduous shrubs than in evergreen shrubs.

Key words: Da Hinggan Ling, northern peatland, plant nutrition, stoichiometry

Fig. 1

Locations of the peatlands investigated in the Da Hinggan Ling."

Table 1

Information on climate and plant species studied in the peatland sites in the Da Hinggan Ling"

地点 Site 年平均气温MAT (℃) 年降水量 MAP (mm) 海拔 Elevation (m) 调查植物种(重复数) Plant species studied (replicates)
阿里河 Alihe -5.57 481 490 A(2), C(3), D(3), E(3)
阿木尔 Amuer -4.48 459 533 A(3), C(2), D(3), E(2), G(3), H(1), I(3)
大林河 Dalinhe -4.20 443 466 A(3), D(3), E(3), G(3), I(3), J(3)
富克山 Fukeshan -4.21 444 468 A(3), D(3), E(2), G(1), H(1), I(3), K(1)
根河 Genhe -5.22 464 839 A(3), C(3), D(3), E(4), I(2), K(3)
呼源 Huyuan -4.48 501 665 A(3), B(1), D(3), E(1), G(2), I(3), K(2)
呼中 Huzhong -4.06 479 534 A(3), D(3), G(3), I(3), J(1)
金河 Jinhe -5.41 477 862 A(3), C(2), D(3), G(1)
林海 Linhai -5.51 520 571 A(3), C(3), D(3), F(2), G(3), I(1), K(3)
满归 Mangui -4.78 464 620 A(3), D(3), E(2), G(3), J(3), K(3)
南瓮河 Nanwenghe -2.71 498 485 A(3), B(3), C(3), D(3), E(3), F(3), G(3)
盘古 Pangu -3.62 477 406 A(3), D(3), E(3), G(1), H(2), I(3), J(3)
十二站 Shi’erzhan -2.40 495 394 A(3), C(2), D(3), E(3), G(2), J(1)
塔河 Tahe -3.56 487 440 A(3), C(2), D(3), E(3), F(1)
图强 Tuqiang -4.29 452 477 A(3), D(3), E(1), F(2), G(1), I(3), J(2), K(2)
新林 Xinlin -3.63 498 526 A(3), D(3), E(3), G(3), I(3), J(3), K(2)
伊图里河 Ih Tol Gol -5.13 475 822 A(3), C(2), D(3), G(2)
壮林 Zhuanglin -4.48 459 528 A(3), D(3), G(3), I(3), J(2), K(1)

Table 2

The correlations among leaf C, N, and P variables in peatland plants of Da Hinggan Ling"

C (%) N (%) P (%) C:N C:P
C (%) 1
N (%) 0.294** 1
P (%) 0.069 0.287** 1
C:N -0.002 -0.886** -0.258** 1
C:P 0.005 -0.292** -0.854** 0.318** 1
N:P -0.007 0.238** -0.750** -0.242** 0.812**

Fig. 2

Leaf C, N, and P concentrations (A, B, C) and their stoichiometric ratios (D, E, F) in peatland plants of the Da Hinggan Ling. The black and short horizontal lines are the average values for leaf C, N, and P variables for each species. Boxes in dark grey, grey, and light grey mark graminoids, deciduous shrub, and evergreen shrub plants, respectively. The box encompasses the 25th to 75th percentiles; lines in boxes mark the mean values, and whiskers are the standard deviation value. Different capital letters above boxes and lowercase letters below boxes mark significant differences among growth forms and species (p < 0.05). Bf, Betula fruticosa; Cc, Chamaedaphne calyculata; Cg, Carex globularis; Da, Deyeuxia angustifolia; Ev, Eriophorum vaginatum; Lp, Ledum palustre; Rc, Rhododendron capitatum; Sm, Salix myrtilloides; Sr, Salix rosmarinifolia; Vu, Vaccinium uliginosum; Vv, Vaccinium vitis-idaea."

Table 3

Summary of General Linear Model (GLM) statistics, showing the effects of sampling site (D) and plant species (S) on leaf C, N, and P concentrations and stoichiometry in peatland plants of Da Hinggan Ling"

来源 Source
MS SS (%) F MS SS (%) F MS SS (%) F MS SS (%) F MS SS (%) F MS SS (%) F
D 84.3 38.7 24.016* 1.7 40.8 29.415* 0.04 25.8 13.031* 378.2 38.3 23.732* 74 004.0 23.9 9.548* 67.2 12.8 5.883*
S 17.9 14.0 5.094* 0.2 9.7 4.131* 0.01 16.9 5.022* 53.4 9.3 3.353* 29 120.8 16.0 3.757* 78.5 25.5 6.872*
D × S 5.5 20.6 1.580* 0.1 26.4 2.349* 0.01 26.2 1.699* 31.3 25.7 1.967* 8 315.6 21.0 1.073 18.4 27.5 1.614*

Fig. 3

Inter-site coefficient of variation (KCV) in leaf C, N, and P concentrations (A, B, C) and their stoichiometric ratios (D, E, F) in peatland plants of Da Hinggan Ling. Lines in black, grey, and light grey mark the mean KCV values of graminoids, deciduous shrubs and evergreen shrubs, respectively. The number below each species indicates the number of occurring locations. Bf, Betula fruticosa; Cc, Chamaedaphne calyculata; Cg, Carex globularis; Da, Deyeuxia angustifolia; Ev, Eriophorum vaginatum; Lp, Ledum palustre; Rc, Rhododendron capitatum; Sm, Salix myrtilloides; Sr, Salix rosmarinifolia; Vu, Vaccinium uliginosum; Vv, Vaccinium vitis-idaea."

Fig. 4

Inter-species coefficient of variation (ZCV) in leaf C, N, and P concentrations (A, B, C) and their stoichiometric ratios (D, E, F) in peatland plants of Da Hinggan Ling. Lines in black, grey, and light grey mark mean ZCV values for graminoids, decidous shrubs and evergreen shrubs, respectively. The numbers after site names indicate the number of species for graminoids, decidous and evergreen shrubs, respectively."

Table 4

Comparisons of leaf C, N, and P concentrations and their stoichiometry between plants of the Da Hinggan Ling peatlands and those in other studies"

Study region
C (%) N (%) P (%) C:N C:P N:P 数据来源
Mean SD n Mean SD n Mean SD n Mean SD n Mean SD n Mean SD n Data source
泥炭地 Peatlands 42.2 2.9 275 1.9 0.4 276 0.18 0.07 263 23.6 6.2 275 269 110 262 11.6 4.6 263 本研究 This Study
森林 Forests 48.0 5.3 102 1.8 0.5 102 0.20 0.12 102 29.1 9.5 102 314 152 102 11.5 5.0 102 Ren et al., 2012
荒漠 Deserts 1.1 0.8 276 0.10 0.08 276 11.5 5.1 276 Zhang et al., 2014
草原 Grasslands 43.8 3.0 213 2.8 0.9 213 0.19 0.84 525 17.9 5.7 213 15.3 5.2 525 He et al., 2006, 2008
中国 China 2.0 0.8 554 0.15 0.10 745 16.3 9.3 547 Han et al., 2005
全球 Globe 46.2 7.2 76 2.0 0.9 1 251 0.18 0.11 923 23.8 17.3 62 301 237 43 13.8 9.5 894 Elser et al., 2000a; Reich & Oleksyn, 2004

Table 5

Plant mycorrhizal types, leaf shapes and plant height in the Da Hinggan Ling peatlands"

Growth form
Mycorrhizal type
Plant height (cm)
Leaf shape
草本植物 Graminoids 白毛羊胡子草
Eriophorum vaginatum
无菌根 Non-mycorrhizae 40-80 线形 Linear leaf Hobbie & Hobbie, 2006; Wu & Hong, 2010
玉簪薹草 Carex globularis 无菌根 Non-mycorrhizae 30-60 线形 Linear leaf
小叶章 Deyeuxia angustifolia 丛枝菌根 Arbuscular mycorrhizae 30-100 线形 Linear leaf
落叶灌木 Deciduous shrubs 柴桦 Betula fruticosa 外生菌根 Ecto-mycorrhizae 50-150 卵形 Ovate leaf
越桔柳 Salix myrtilloides 外生菌根 Ecto-mycorrhizae 30-80 椭圆形 Oblong leaf
细叶沼柳 Salix rosmarinifolia 外生菌根 Ecto-mycorrhizae 50-100 披针形 Lanceolate leaf
笃斯越桔 Vaccinium uliginosum 杜鹃花科菌根 Ericoid mycorrhizae 50-80 倒卵形 Obovate leaf
越桔 Vaccinium vitis-idaea 杜鹃花科菌根 Ericoid mycorrhizae 10-30 倒卵形 Obovate leaf
常绿灌木 Evergreen shrubs 杜香 Ledum palustre 杜鹃花科菌根 Ericoid mycorrhizae 40-50 线形 Linear leaf
地桂 Chamaedaphne calyculata 杜鹃花科菌根 Ericoid mycorrhizae 30-150 椭圆形 Oblong leaf
头花杜鹃 Rhododendron capitatum 杜鹃花科菌根 Ericoid mycorrhizae 40-100 椭圆形 Oblong leaf

Fig. 5

Leaf N and P concentrations and N:P threshold in peatland plants of Da Hinggan Ling. Dash lines represent the N:P ratios of 10, 14, 16 and 20, respectively. Star-shaped symbol represents the global mean leaf N concentration (1.9%) and P concentration (0.12%) (Yan et al., 2017). Bf, Betula fruticosa; Cc, Chamaedaphne calyculata; Cg, Carex globularis; Da, Deyeuxia angustifolia; Ev, Eriophorum vaginatum; Lp, Ledum palustre; Rc, Rhododendron capitatum; Sm, Salix myrtilloides; Sr, Salix rosmarinifolia; Vu, Vaccinium uliginosum; Vv, Vaccinium vitis-idaea."

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