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Table of Content
    Volume 35 Issue 1
    01 January 2011

    The Saussurea involucrata plant growing in the alpine vegetation zone nearby the No. 1 Glacier of Tianshan Mountain of Xinjiang, China. DAI et al. investigated the floral biology of this species distributed in this region (Pages 56–65 of this issue). (Photographed by DAI Pan-Feng)

    Research Articles
    Relationship between leaf phosphorus concentration and soil phosphorus availability across Inner Mongolia grassland
    GENG Yan, WU Yi, HE Jin-Sheng
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  1-8.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00001
    Abstract ( 2637 )   PDF (372KB) ( 2388 )   Save
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    Aims Phosphorus status and N/P stoichiometry in plant leaves have been studied intensively with recent focus on large-scale patterns and driving factors. Studies of Chinese terrestrial plants found that leaf P was considerably lower than the global average, resulting in a higher N/P, probably due to the low soil total P content at the national scale. Inner Mongolia grassland offers a diverse array of taxa and soil conditions to examine the correlation between leaf and soil P concentrations. Our objective was to determine how and to what extent soil total and available P modify leaf P across the study region. Methods Leaf samples of 57 species were collected at 36 sites across Inner Mongolia grassland during July and August 2007. We determined leaf P concentration, N/P, soil total and available P concentrations and tested pairwise relationships between leaf and soil variables at species-by-site, inter-specific and inter-site levels. Important findings Findings of relatively low leaf P and high N/P across Inner Mongolia grassland were consistent with previous findings. Neither soil total nor available P appeared to be related with leaf P concentration, although soil available P had a stronger explanatory power than soil total P content. Moreover, Inner Mongolian grassland did not show a great shortage of soil available P compared with USA, Australia and the global average. The hypothesis that low leaf P and high N/P of plants are caused by low soil P content do not hold in Inner Mongolian grassland. Instead, neither soil total nor available P shapes the pattern of leaf P and N/P across this grassland.

    Decomposition of mixed litter of four dominant species in an Inner Mongolia steppe
    CHEN Jin, LI Yang, HUANG Jian-Hui
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  9-16.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00009
    Abstract ( 2017 )   PDF (444KB) ( 1961 )   Save
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    Aims Litter decomposition is a key process of energy flow and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems that might be sensitive to the loss of biodiversity. Our objective in this study was to investigate the potential effects of plant litter diversity on decomposition processes and nutrient release in an Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem. Methods We placed aboveground litter (stems and leaves) of four dominant species (Stipa krylovii, Astragalus scaberrimus, Potentilla acaulis and Leymus chinensis) individually and in mixture in litterbags in the field on October 27, 2006. We collected the litter bags after 0, 162, 252 and 341 days and determined mass loss and N and P content in the remaining litter. Important findings After 341 days, the remaining mass of litter of individual species was significantly negatively correlated with initial litter N content. There was no significant difference between the observed and expected mass remaining for most litter mixtures, except the A. scaberrimus - P. acaulis mixture, in which mass remaining was 7.5% higher than the expected. Nevertheless, most litter mixtures affected the dynamics of N and P during decomposition. N releases of S. krylovii - A. scaberrimus and S. krylovii - L. chinensis were facilitated in the early stages of decomposition, in which remaining N was 4.7% and 10.0% lower, respectively, than the expected. Meanwhile, either release or accumulation of P in four of five litter mixtures was also promoted in different decomposition stages, and the P remaining significantly differed from the expected in S. krylovii - P. acaulis, S. krylovii - L. chinensis and S. krylovii - A. scaberrimus (31.1%, 23.1% and 21.8%, respectively in the early, middle, and later stage of decomposition). Our results show that litter diversity has significant effects on nutrient dynamics, especially for P, but not on mass loss rates of most decomposing mixtures, and the effects of mixing are complex.

    Species diversity of communities based on different vegetation organizational scales in China’s Malan forest region
    WEI Li-Ping, WANG Xiao-An, WANG Shi-Xiong, ZHU Zhi-Hong, GUO Hua, SUN Jia-Nan, HAO Jiang-Bo
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  17-26.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00017
    Abstract ( 1997 )   PDF (600KB) ( 1722 )   Save
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    Aims Patterns of species diversity are closely related to vegetation organizational scales. Our aims were to analyze the relationship between species diversity and vegetation organizational scales and discuss its internal mechanism, which may help us better understand the general law of species diversity. Methods We investigated 208 10 m × 10 m representative quadrats in the Malan forest region on China’s Loess Plateau. Each plot had five 2 m × 2 m subplots for shrubs and five 1 m × 1 m subplots for herbs. We recorded height and diameter at breast height (DBH) of trees and height and cover of shrubs and herbs. We determined communities and their relationships with Two Way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) and Principal Components Analysis (PCA). Based on species richness, Shannon-Wiener and Simpson diversity indices, the relationship between species diversity and vegetation organizational scales was analyzed using the additive partition approach. Important findings For the four components constituting regional diversity (α1, β1, β2 and β3) ― no matter if diversity was measured as species richness, Shannon-Wiener or Simpson indices ― within-association diversity always contributed the most to regional diversity in tree, shrub and herb layers (except species richness in the herb layer), indicating that it was the most appropriate scale for measuring species diversity. The proportion of Shannon-Wiener diversity at the vegetation type, formation or association scales was higher than the proportion measured by Simpson diversity, which resulted from the distribution pattern of rare species on each scale. Differences among the orders of β diversity components were observed in scales of between-vegetation type, between-formation and between-association, which were mainly correlated with tree, shrub and herb layers’ species composition and distribution in the region, as well as environmental heterogeneity among different scales.

    Response of Pinus koraiensis and Picea jezoensis var. komarovii to climate in the transition zone of Changbai Mountain, China
    GAO Lu-Shuang, WANG Xiao-Ming, ZHAO Xiu-Hai
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  27-34.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00027
    Abstract ( 2185 )   PDF (452KB) ( 1558 )   Save
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    Aims Our objective was to reveal the climate sensitivity of Pinus koraiensis and Picea jezoensis var. komarovii. Methods We used dendroecological methods to analyze growth characteristics and responses to climate of Pinus koraiensis and Picea jezoensis var. komarovii, dominant species in the transition of broad-leaved Korean pine forest and dark coniferous forest in Changbai Mountain, China, to reveal their climate sensitivity. Important findings Radial growth of both species was significantly correlated with the age. Maximum annual growth occurred earlier in Pinus koraiensis than Picea jezoensis var. komarovii. Annual growth rate was significantly higher in Pinus koraiensis than Picea jezoensis var. komarovii (p < 0.001). Response to climate also differed. Radial growth of Pinus koraiensis was significantly positively correlated with monthly mean temperature in July and precipitation in September (p < 0.05). However, radial growth in Picea jezoensis var. komarovii was significantly positively related to monthly mean and maximum temperature in May and was negatively related to May precipitation. Results from response surface analysis suggested that radial growth was mainly controlled by the temperature and precipitation of the growing season, but precipitation during the early growing season was the most important factor for growth of Picea jezoensis var. komarovii. Global warming will favor radial growth of Pinus koraiensis, and this species will be able to extend to higher elevation.

    Seed rain, soil seed bank and seedling regeneration in a 65-year Picea asperata plantation in subalpine coniferous, western Sichuan, China
    YIN Hua-Jun, CHENG Xin-Ying, LAI Ting, LIN Bo, LIU Qing
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  35-44.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00035
    Abstract ( 2150 )   PDF (456KB) ( 1649 )   Save
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    Aims Picea asperata is one of the keystone spruce species used for reforestation in subalpine coniferous forest of western Sichuan, China. A total of ca. 13 000 hm2 of plantations are dominated by this species in this region. Our objective was to assess (a) potential for natural regeneration and (b) critical factors limiting regeneration of this tree species in spruce plantations. Methods We conducted field studies on the seed rain, soil seed bank dynamics and seedling establishment in a 65-year spruce plantation in Miyaluo subalpine coniferous forest of western Sichuan, China from 2002 to 2008. We used seed traps, sieved to determine the soil seed bank, and recorded seedlings. Important findings Pinus asperata seed rain commonly lasted from early October to the end of January or early February. There was a large annual variation in seed production, with mast years at 4-year intervals. We concluded that seed availability was not a limiting factor for natural regeneration, at least in mast years. The seed bank was transient, with losses from seed decay and seed predation being the two most important factors affecting seed bank dynamics. Only a small fraction of seeds germinated and produced seedlings, e.g., 3.6% in 2002. Higher seedling mortality greatly reduced the total number of germinated seedlings, and few seedlings survived after one growing season. Deep litter and moss were the most common substrates for P. asperata regeneration, having 93% of all germinated seedlings. Most surviving seedlings occurred with a substrate depth of 0–2 cm, and seedling mortality increased with greater depth, suggesting substrate depth is an important constraint on natural regeneration. Seedlings on moss substrate had greater root collar diameter, number of green shoots, estimated dry weight and annual dry weight increment but less height than those on litter substrate. In conclusion, despite a substantial seed production, high depletion of soil seed, low germination and high seedling mortality limit natural regeneration of P. asperata.

    Effects of replacement control with four forage species on bacterial diversity of soil invaded by Flaveria bidentis
    YAN Su-Li, HUANGFU Chao-He, LI Gang, ZUO Zhao-Jiang, MA Jie, YANG Dian-Lin
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  45-55.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00045
    Abstract ( 2163 )   PDF (2431KB) ( 2219 )   Save
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    Aims Invasive plants can alter soil physicochemical properties by changing the soil microbial community (which is closely related to plant growth and development) and thus further promote the invasion process. Our objectives were to (a) compare changes in soil bacterial diversity with cultivation of four replacement plants (Sorghum bicolor × S. sudanense, Helianthus annuus, Medicago sativa and Lolium perenne) mixed with Flaveria bidentis in different growth period and (b) determine the responses of the soil bacterial community to F. bidentis invasion and replacement. Methods Total soil bacterial DNA was extracted by PowerSoil DNA Isolation Kit, 16S rRNA V3 fragments were amplified with bacterial universal primers, and purified fragments were cloned into pGEM-T-Easy vector. Sequence results were aligned on NCBI. Important findings Soil bacterial diversity was decreased in F. bidentis monoculture and was lower than in the soils of the monocultures of the four replacement plants and in the soils of the replacement plants and F. bidentis. There were Hsignificant differencesH in soil bacterial 16S rRNA denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting patterns between the mixed- and monoculture soils. Also, there were characteristic bacterial communities with each mixed culture soil on different dates. The Shannon diversity index of soil bacteria peaked in July and decreased starting in August, and this change was synchronous with plant growth. Soil bacterial diversity was reduced following the invasion of F. bidentis, and that the diversity level was increased by cultivating replacement plants with F. bidentis. Therefore, we proposed that soil bacteria play an important role in F. bidentis invasion and control.

    Floral biological characteristics of Saussurea involucrata in relation to ecological adaptation
    DAI Pan-Feng, TAN Dun-Yan
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  56-65.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00056
    Abstract ( 2466 )   PDF (511KB) ( 2246 )   Save
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    Aims Saussurea involucrata is not only a rare and protected species, but also an important traditional Chinese medicinal plant. The species is an herbaceous monocarpic perennial that grows in the alpine zone. Our objective was to investigate floral biology of this species in a high-altitude area of the Tianshan Mountains and to gain an understanding of how its floral biology is adapted to the alpine environment. Methods The research was conducted at the Tianshan Glaciological Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (43°06′ N, 86°49′ E, 3 540 m a.s.l.) in Xinjiang. We selected an undisturbed population of plants and measured and recorded floral characteristics during flower opening. Also, the dynamics of nectar secretion were monitored by collecting nectar with a syringe and determining sugar concentration with a pocket refractometer. Temperature and relative humidity both inside and outside the involucral bracts were measured with a portable hygrothermograph, and number of seeds produced by plants was counted in the field. Important findings The inflorescence is a compound capitulum composed of many capitula on a short stem, and it is surrounded by large green involucral bracts. About 26 of the uppermost capitula contained 137 ± 34 fertile florets each, but the lower capitula in the axils of the bracts had sterile florets. The maximum temperature and relative humidity differences in one day between inside and outside the bracts were 7.2 °C and 54.2%, respectively. Opening of florets on a single plant lasted about 45–55 days and for the population about 65–75 days. The duration of peak flowering was ca. 35 days, and the mean number of flowering florets per plant each day was 201. Flowering phenology did not differ between years (p > 0.05). Longevity of a floret from open corolla to a wilted stigma was 4–6 days. Herkogamy, protandry and secondary pollen presentation were conspicuous during floret opening, thus avoiding self-pollination and interference between female and male function. Both nectar volume and sugar concentration of a single floret reached a maximum value at 12:00 (solar time) within 1 day. Over a 3-day period of consecutive nectar secretion, nectar volume gradually increased, while sugar concentration decreased. In the natural habitat, mean percent seed set per capitulum and total seed number per plant were 91.7% ± 4.2% and 3 326.4 ± 28.7, respectively. These characteristics are adaptations to the extreme alpine environment of the Tianshan Mountains.

    Impacts of different concentrations of main pollutants from the synthetic leather industry on the physiology and ecology of Pinus taiwanensis
    CHEN Mao-Quan, WANG Gen-Xuan, LIU Shu-Xin, BAI Yan-Yuan, YING Jun-Hui, CHEN Bing-Hong, WANG Dong-Ming
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  66-72.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00066
    Abstract ( 1910 )   PDF (372KB) ( 1521 )   Save
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    Aims Vegetation in developed areas of China has been polluted by dimethylformamide (DMF) and toluene (TOL), solvents used in the synthetic leather industry; however, little research has been done on the impact of these pollutants on the physiology and ecology of trees. Methods In this paper, we studied the pollution effects of DMF and TOL on the physiological and ecological characteristics of Pinus taiwanensis. Important findings DMF began to induce an increase in total soluble sugars and glutathione (GSH) in the plant at low concentration. As the concentration of DMF increased, total soluble sugars and total antioxidant compounds (T-AOC) decreased and soluble proteins and malonaldehyde (MDA) increased, indicating that DMF started to have toxic effects on the plant. TOL promoted chlorophyll production at low concentration. As its concentration increased, the content of chlorophyll and MDA decreased, whereas that of total soluble sugars, proteins and T-AOC increased. When TOL reached a higher concentration, the content of chlorophyll and T-AOC decreased and that of MDA increased significantly, suggesting the occurrence of toxic effects. DMF may inhibit the facilitative effects of TOL at low concentration when they were combined. Their combined effects were similar to those of DMF at some concentrations. However, when the combined pollutants reached a rather high concentration, the content of MDA increased and the toxic effects were more pronounced than those of DMF alone. This study suggested that chemical pollutants at low concentration can be tolerated by P. taiwanensis whereas high concentrations are harmful to growth.

    Comparison of water-related physiological characteristics of Alnus maritima and A. incana growing in America
    LI Xiu-Yuan, LIU Xi-Ping, Hang DUONG, Roger KJELGREN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  73-81.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00073
    Abstract ( 1961 )   PDF (452KB) ( 1360 )   Save
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    Aims Our goal was to compare basic physiological responses to water stress of Alnus maritima and A. incana in order to (a) explain why A. maritima occupies a small, patchy distribution in eastern U.S.A. while A. incana is broadly distributed and (b) further understand potential differences in adaptation to drought in these two species. Methods We compared stomatal conductance (Gs), leaf water potential (ψleaf) and basic osmotic regulation in A. maritima and A. incana under artificial soil irrigation. Important findings Alnus maritima kept a lower Gs and lower correlation coefficients with air temperature, vapor pressure deficit and relative humidity than A. incana under irrigation. During the dry-down period, A. maritima showed weaker ability to keep stomata open as influenced by the decrease of ψleaf. In the re-water experiment, Gs of A. maritima showed slower recovery than A. incana. Alnus maritima kept a higher ψleaf and also a higher threshold of ψleaf to close their stomata under well-watered conditions. The decline in ψleaf was larger under drought stress compared with A. incana. There was no significant difference in osmotic regulation between the two species under normal water conditions. However, under drought, both species showed: (a) a decrease in solute potential at full turgor (ψs sat), (b) a decline of maximum variation rate of turgor pressure against solute potential, (c) an increase in solute potential at turgor loss point (ψs tlp) and (d) a decrease in Dψs. The ψs tlp of A. maritima was higher and Dψs was lower than in A. incana. These results indicated that the small, patchy distribution of A. maritima may partly be attributed to the lower sensitivity of leaf stomata, higher leaf water potential and decrease in ability to adjust osmotically under drought stress.

    Effects of shading on leaf morphology and response characteristics of photosynthesis in Alhagi sparsifolia
    XUE Wei, LI Xiang-Yi, ZHU Jun-Tao, LIN Li-Sha, WANG Ying-Ju
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  82-90.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00082
    Abstract ( 2350 )   PDF (480KB) ( 1948 )   Save
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    Aims Alhagi sparsifolia, which occurs in arid regions, is commonly considered a type of sun plant. Research indicates that sun plants can successfully adapt to a range of shade through changes in leaf morphology such as increased thickness and decreased size and specific leaf area (SLA). Our objective was to investigate the effects of shading on A. sparsifolia. Methods We selected two light regimes, natural and shade (60% of natural light), to understand the effects of shading on leaf morphology and response characteristics of photosynthesis in A. sparsifolia growing naturally on the southern edge of Taklimakan Desert, northwest China. Important findings Plants grown in the shade treatment had greater SLA (p < 0.01), lower leaf fresh mass per unit leaf area, leaf dry mass per unit leaf area and leaf thickness than plants grown in full natural light treatments (p < 0.01), and greater content of total chlorophyll a + b and total carotenoids, especially chlorophyll a content (p < 0.01). With shade, plants had lower light-compensation point, light-saturation point and dark respiration rate, higher apparent quantum yield and light use efficiency and significantly higher photosynthetic rate of light-saturation point. Under high irradiation shade plants had net photosynthetic rate lower than that of plants grown in full natural light, leading to photoinhibition. We concluded that A. sparsifolia had the ability to adjust to shade in leaf morphology and characteristics of photosynthesis. In addition, the content of free proline (Pro) increased significantly in shade plants (p < 0.01), which showed that free Pro plays an important role in shade acclimation of A. sparsifolia. However, the phenomenon of high module mortality in shade treatments showed that A. sparsifolia is the obligate sun species but intolerable shade plant.

    Effects of soil water and nitrogen supply on the photosynthetic characteristics of Jatropha curcas seedlings
    JIAO Juan-Yu, YIN Chun-Ying, CHEN Ke
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  91-99.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00091
    Abstract ( 2342 )   PDF (386KB) ( 1764 )   Save
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    Aims Jatropha curcas is a drought-resistant perennial that can be used for bio-energy to replace petro-diesel. However, J. curcas is still a wild plant and basic agronomical properties are not thoroughly understood. When it is grown in commercial plantations with regular irrigation, we do not know how J.curcas will respond to changes in the environment. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of different soil water and nitrogen supplies on the photosynthesis characteristics of J. curcas seedlings. Methods We exposed seedlings of J. curcas to three watering regimes (80%, 50% and 30% of field water holding capacity (FC)) and two nitrogen (N) regimes (with or without N-fertilization) and determined how N-fertilization affects the photosynthetic light and CO2 response curve, maximal quantum yield of PSII, and N and pigments contents under different soil water conditions. Important findings With N-fertilization, we detected significant increases in apparent quantum yield (AQY), light compensation point (LCP), maximum net photosynthetic rate (Pmax), carboxylation efficiency (CE), photorespiration rate (Rp), dark respiration rate (Rd) and nitrogen content with the increase of soil water content. Highest values of photosynthesis parameters occurred with 80% FC with N-fertilization. Without N-fertilization, all photosynthesis parameters had the opposite trends with the increase of soil water content. Furthermore, with 30% FC the nitrogen content of seedlings with N-fertilization was significantly higher than without N-fertilization. AQY, PSII maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) and chlorophyll and carotenoids contents was nearly the same with and without N-fertilization, but other parameters were significantly lower without N-fertilization. Thus, under N-poor soil condition J. curcas grew better under the relatively low soil water conditions and photosynthesis of J. curcas was impacted by high soil water content. While with N-fertilization, J. curcas performed better under high soil water content.

    Estimating and screening of drought resistance indexes of peanut
    ZHANG Zhi-Meng, WAN Shu-Bo, DAI Liang-Xiang, SONG Wen-Wu, CHEN Jing, SHI Yun-Qing
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  100-109.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00100
    Abstract ( 2172 )   PDF (302KB) ( 2028 )   Save
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    Aims Our objective was to define an index of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) drought resistance and comprehensively evaluate drought resistance of peanut varieties under controlled water conditions. Methods The experiment was conducted on the farm of Qingdao Academy of Agricultural Science with 29 peanut varieties. Two levels of water content (80%–85% and 45%–50% of field moisture capacity) were used in a randomized complete block design with four replications. We measured 13 morphological and physiological characters such as plant height, branch numbers, biomass, leaf water content and photosynthetic pigment content in seedling and pod-pin stages. Important findings The 29 peanut cultivars can divided into four classes: high-, mid- and low-tolerant cultivars and intolerant cultivars. The high-tolerant cultivars included ‘Tangke 8’, ‘Jihua 2’, ‘Datangyou’, ‘Huayu 25’, ‘Huayu 17’, ‘Luhua 14’ and ‘Fenghua 1’. Subordinate function values of the morphological indexes including main stem height, branch number and biomass, and photosynthetic pigments contents of the same cultivars at seedling stage were different. In addition, the subordinate function value of the seedling stage was unrelated to drought resistance, so a single physiological index cannot be used to identify the drought resistance of peanut. But the values drought resistance comprehensive evaluation (D) of physiological indexes were significantly related to drought resistance and can be used to identify the drought resistance of peanut. At the pod-pin stage, the D values of morphological indexes and physiological indexes were both significantly related to drought resistance, so the subordinate function value and D value of morphological indexes and physiological indexes at this stage can serve as indexes for identifying peanut drought resistance.

    Review of current progress in the metabolomics for plant response to abiotic stress
    TENG Zhong-Qiu, FU Hui-Qing, JIA Shao-Hua, MENG Wei-Wei, DAI Rong-Ji, DENG Yu-Lin
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2011, 35 (1):  110-118.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1258.2011.00110
    Abstract ( 2672 )   PDF (296KB) ( 4514 )   Save
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    Metabolomics is an important platform for studying stress in plants. We can qualify and quantify the metabolites of plants with environment stress using modern analytical techniques. The metabolomics data can be further studied by correlating with transcriptomics and genomics data. The combination of ‘omics’ platforms is an essential tool for systems analyses of plants to determine the mechanics of plant response to environment stress. We review recent studies of plant response to abiotic stress using metabolomics method and combination of different ‘omics’ platforms.

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