Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 23-31.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0003

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Relationship between leaf traits of Melica przewalskyi and slope aspects in alpine grassland of Qilian Mountains, China

DANG Jing-Jing, ZHAO Cheng-Zhang*(), LI Yu, HOU Zhao-Jiang, DONG Xiao-Gang   

  1. Research Center of Wetland Resources Protection and Industrial Development Engineering of Gansu Province, College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2014-05-12 Accepted:2014-10-13 Online:2015-01-22 Published:2015-01-10
  • Contact: Cheng-Zhang ZHAO E-mail:zhaocz601@163.com
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

Variations in leaf characteristics can reflect plant acclimation to environments. We aimed to examine the relationship between leaf traits of Melica przewalskyi and slope aspect.

<i>Methods</i>

In alpine grassland of Qilian Mountains, Gansu Province, China, 80 plots were sampled at intervals of 20 m along eight aspects. Latitude, longitude and altitude of each plot were recorded by GPS. At each plot, 10 individuals of M. przewalskyi were random selected and harvested for measurements of leaf mass, leaf area, and leaf volume. A digital elevation model (DEM) was constructed to extract elevation, aspect, and slope for each plot by ArcGIS. The 80 plots were divided into groups of north, east, west and south aspect. Values for leaf traits were log-transformed. the standardized major axis (SMA) estimation method, was used to examine the covariation among leaf traits.

Important findings

Leaf area and leaf volume decreased significantly as aspect turns from north to east, from east to west, and from west to south, but not so for leaf mass, suggesting that leaf thickness increased as slope aspect changes, and thus led to the smaller and thicker leaves on the south-facing slope than that on north-facing slope. A clear allometric relationship between leaf mass and leaf area was found only on the south-facing slope where increase in leaf mass was greater than that in leaf area. While on other slope aspects, an isometric relationships between them was observed. The allometric relationship between leaf mass and leaf volume was found on all four aspects, with the growing speed of leaf volume greater than that of leaf mass, and a rising SMA slope. We can conclude that variations in leaf traits of M. przewalskyi with slope aspect could reflect plant acclimation.

Key words: aspect, leaf area, leaf mass, leaf volume, allometry, Melica przewalskyi

Table 1

Community characteristics on different slope aspects"

坡向
Slope aspect
盖度
Coverage (%)
高度
Height (cm)
地上生物量
Aboveground biomass (g·m-2)
土壤水分含量
Soil moisture content (%)
北坡 North slope 72.97 ± 1.43a 34.50 ± 1.74a 100.18 ± 2.13a 12.30 ± 0.56a
东坡 East slope 70.17 ± 1.26b 27.80 ± 1.32b 97.66 ± 2.28b 8.90 ± 0.38b
西坡 West slope 68.14 ± 1.18c 25.80 ± 1.16b 94.78 ± 1.49c 8.50 ± 0.37b
南坡 South slope 64.75 ± 1.16d 21.80 ± 0.87c 92.23 ± 1.74d 6.70 ± 0.24c

Table 2

Leaf traits of Melica przewalskyi on different slope aspects (mean ± SE)"

坡向
Slope aspects
叶面积
Leaf area (mm2)
叶体积
Leaf volume (mm3)
叶干质量
Leaf mass (mg)
比叶面积
Specific leaf area (mm2·mg-1)
北坡 North slope 107.72 ± 2.73a 11.38 ± 0.23a 9.07 ± 0.18a 11.88 ± 0.35a
东坡 East slope 97.46 ± 2.16b 10.86 ± 0.20b 8.98 ± 0.20a 10.85 ± 0.27b
西坡 West slope 92.85 ± 1.41c 9.11 ± 0.18c 8.72 ± 0.16a 10.65 ± 0.25b
南坡 South slope 85.34 ± 1.02d 7.86 ± 0.15d 8.45 ± 0.14a 10.10 ± 0.19c

Fig. 1

Relationships between leaf area and leaf mass of Melica przewalskyi on different aspects. A, north slope; B, east slope; C, west slope; D, south slope."

Fig. 2

Relationships between leaf volume and leaf mass of Melica przewalskyi on different aspects. A, south slope; B, west slope; C, east slope; D, north slope."

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