Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2014, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (10): 1029-1040.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2014.00097

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Analysis of relationships among leaf functional traits and economics spectrum of plant species in the desert steppe of Nei Mongol

YU Hong-Ying1,2, CHEN Ying-Ting1,2, XU Zhen-Zhu1*, and ZHOU Guang-Sheng1,3*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;

    2College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;

    3Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2014-05-12 Revised:2014-09-12 Online:2014-10-22 Published:2014-10-01
  • Contact: XU Zhen-Zhu, ZHOU Guang-Sheng,


Aims Grassland desertification is being accelerated because of adverse climate change effects and unsustainable land uses, resulting in several major environmental problems. However, there are few studies on the economics spectrum of different plant functional types in desert steppe. The objectives of the current study are to examine the relationships among leaf functional traits of native plant species, to compare the functional traits among different plant functional types, and to determine whether an economic spectrum exists for the majority of species in the desert steppe of Damao Banner, Nei Mongol, China.
Methods Photosynthetic and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf nitrogen contents across 24 species of different functional types were measured in situ in the desert steppe ecosystem. Non-parametric tests were used to analyze leaf trait differences in plant species of different functional types. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationships among leaf traits in different plant species. Finally, a comprehensive analysis on these leaf traits in different plant species was conducted using the principal component analysis. All data analyses were performed using SPSS 16.0 (SPSS, Chicago, USA).
Important findings Significant differences among plant functional types were found in most of the leaf traits. SLA and mass-based nitrogen concentration (Nmass) in grasses were 2.39 and 1.20 folds, respectively, of that in shrubs; area-based photosynthetic capacity (Aarea), SLA, and photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency (PNUE) in annual species were 1.93, 2.13, and 4.24 folds, respectively, of that in perennial species; and Aarea, SLA, and PNUE in C4 species were 2.25, 1.73, and 3.61 folds, respectively, of that in C3 species. Almost all relationships significantly differed (p < 0.01) among the leaf traits, with exception of the relationships between Aarea and area-based nitrogen concentration (Narea) and between quantum yield of PSII electron transport (ΦPSII) and SLA, implying that an economic spectrum may exist in the desert steppe ecosystem. The relationships of Narea, mass-based photosynthetic capacity (Amass), and PNUE with SLA were most significantly strong (R2 = 0.54, 0.62, 0.60, respectively; p < 0.01). Results in this study suggest that the annuals, grasses, and C4 species might be located at the end of the leaf economic spectrum with high area-based photosynthetic rate, high nitrogen concentration on mass basis, short leaf lifespan, and high SLA; whereas the perennials, shrubs, and C3 species could be located at the another end of the economic spectrum with contrasting traits.

No related articles found!
Full text



[1] Yu Feng-lan;Wang Jing-ping;Li Jing-min and Shan Xue-qin. The Isolation and Identification of Sterols and Other Constituents from Seed Fat of Sapium sebiferum[J]. Chin Bull Bot, 1989, 6(02): 121 -123 .
[2] LI Al-Fen;CHEN Min amd ZHOU Bai-Cheng. Advances and Problems in Studies of Photosynthetic Pigment-Protein Complexes of Brown Algae[J]. Chin Bull Bot, 1999, 16(04): 365 -371 .
[3] CHEN Xiao-Mei and GUO Shun-Xing. Research Advances in Plant Disease Resistive Material[J]. Chin Bull Bot, 1999, 16(06): 658 -664 .
[4] LI Ji-Quan JIN You-Ju SHEN Ying-Bai HONG Rong. The Effect of Environmental Factors on Emission of Volatile Organic Compounds from Plants[J]. Chin Bull Bot, 2001, 18(06): 649 -656 .
[5] . [J]. Chin Bull Bot, 2005, 22(增刊): 157 .
[6] Jianxia Li, Chulan Zhang, Xiaofei Xia, Liangcheng Zhao. Cryo-sectioning Conditions and Histochemistry Comparison with Paraffin Sectioning[J]. Chin Bull Bot, 2013, 48(6): 643 -650 .
[7] JIANG Yang-Ming, CUI Wei-Hong, and DONG Qian-Lin. Comprehensive evaluation and analysis of tobacco planting environment based on space technology[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2012, 36(1): 47 -54 .
[8] Hu Cheng-biao, Zhu Hong-guang, Wei Yuan-lian. A Study on Microorganism and Biochemical Activity of Chinese-fir Plantation on Different Ecological Area in Guangxi[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 1991, 15(4): 303 -311 .
[9] Hong-Xin SU Fan BAI Guang-Qi LI. Seasonal dynamics in leaf area index in three typical temperate montane forests of China: a comparison of multi-observation methods[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2012, 36(3): 231 -242 .
[10] AN Ran, GONG Ji-Rui, YOU Xin, GE Zhi-Wei, DUAN Qing-Wei, YAN Xin. Seasonal dynamics of soil microorganisms and soil nutrients in fast-growing Populus plantation forests of different ages in Yili, Xinjiang, China[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2011, 35(4): 389 -401 .