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Table of Content
    Volume 41 Issue 5
    10 May 2017

    Ficus microcarpa and its pollinating fig wasp Eupristina verticillata (Photographed by PENG Yan-Qiong). Upper left, pollinating fig wasp visiting female phase syconium; upper right, fig wasp of pollination and oviposition inside the syconium; lower left, male phase syconia; lower right, Ficus microcarpa. Zhang et al. used the methods of chemical ecology to extract and analyze the volatiles of syconia from Ficus microcarpa at different development

    Cover and contents of Vol. 41, No. 5, 2017

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    Research Articles
    Revised algorithm of ecosystem water use efficiency for semi-arid steppe in the Loess Plateau of China
    Xiao LIU, Chao QI, Yi-Lan YAN, Guo-Fu YUAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  497-505.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0378
    Abstract ( 352 )   HTML ( 18 )   PDF (1143KB) ( 611 )   Save
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    Aims We evaluated the applicability of different measures of water use efficiency through analyzing the coupled dynamics of GPP and evapotranspiration in the semi-arid steppe in the Loess Plateau of China. Our objective is to explore the applicability of two quantitative measures of ecosystem water use efficiency—inherent water use efficiency (IWUE) and underlying water use efficiency (uWUE) —for the semi-arid steppe and to endeavor necessary modifications.Methods The consistency and stability of three indices of water use efficiency formulations (i.e. WUE, IWUE, uWUE) were calculated and compared at hourly, daily and annual time scales before proposing an optimal water use efficiency (oWUE). These indices were additionally used to quantify their importances in modeling the diel change of gross primary production (GPP). The yielded-accuracy of the prediction was used for justifying their uses.Important findings IWUE and uWUE appeared suitable for examining the coupled water-carbon characteristics of vegetation at hourly and daily scales, whereas WUE was more plausible on the annual and interannual scales. The optimized water use efficiency index did not improve the prediction of the coupled water-carbon characteristics as compared with uWUE, but it improved the prediction of GPP and its dynamics. oWUE and uWUE improved the predictions of GPP in the peak growing period, while WUE predicted the GPP better at the early and late growing season. Interestingly, we found that IWUE was not suitable for predicting GPP and its dynamics. The results will be of great importance in modeling the effects of climate change on the carbon assimilation and water cycle for the future.

    Spatio-temporal characteristics of evapotranspiration and water use efficiency in grasslands of Xinjiang
    Xiao-Tao HUANG, Ge-Ping LUO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  506-518.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0142
    Abstract ( 332 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (2663KB) ( 476 )   Save
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    Aims Xinjiang is located in the hinterland of the Eurasian arid areas, with grasslands widely distributed. Grasslands in Xinjiang provide significant economic and ecological benefits. However, research on evapotranspiration (ET) and water use efficiency (WUE) of the grasslands is still relatively weak. This study aimed to explore the spatio-temporal characteristics on ET and WUE in the grasslands of Xinjiang in the context of climate change.Methods The Biome-BGC model was used to determine the spatio-temporal characteristics of ET and WUE of the grasslands over the period 1979-2012 across different seasons, areas and grassland types in Xinjiang.Important findings The average annual ET in the grasslands of Xinjiang was estimated at 245.7 mm, with interannual variations generally consistent with that of precipitation. Overall, the value of ET was lower than that of precipitation. The higher values of ET mainly distributed in the Tianshan Mountains, Altai Mountains, Altun Mountains and the low mountain areas on the northern slope of Kunlun Mountains. The lower values of ET mainly distributed in the highland areas of Kunlun Mountains and the desert plains. Over the period 1979-2012, average annual ET was 183.2 mm in the grasslands of southern Xinjiang, 357.9 mm in the grasslands of the Tianshan Mountains, and 221.3 mm in grasslands of northern Xinjiang. In winter, ET in grasslands of northern Xinjiang was slightly higher than that of Tianshan Mountains. Average annual ET ranked among grassland types as: mid-mountain meadow > swamp meadow > typical grassland > desert grassland > alpine meadow > saline meadow. The highest ET value occurred in summer, and the lowest ET value occurred in winter, with ET in spring being slightly higher than that in autumn. The higher WUE values mainly distributed in the areas of Tianshan Mountains and Altai Mountains. The lower WUE values mainly distributed in the highland areas of Kunlun Mountains and part of the desert plains. The average annual WUE in the grasslands of Xinjiang was 0.56 g·kg-1, with the seasonal values of 0.43 g·kg-1 in spring, 0.60 g·kg-1 in summer, and 0.48 g·kg-1 in autumn, respectively. Over the period 1979-2012, the values of WUE displayed significant regional differences: the average values were 0.73 g·kg-1 in northern Xinjiang, 0.26 g·kg-1 in southern Xinjiang, and 0.69 g·kg-1 in Tianshan Mountains. There were also significant differences in WUE among grassland types. The values of WUE ranked in the order of mid-mountain meadow > typical grassland > swamp meadow > saline meadow > alpine meadow > desert grassland.

    Water sources of Populus euphratica and Tamarix ramosissima in Ejina Delta, the lower reaches of the Heihe River, China
    Ya-Fei LI, Jing-Jie YU, Kai LU, Ping WANG, Yi-Chi ZHANG, Chao-Yang DU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  519-528.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0381
    Abstract ( 305 )   HTML ( 9 )   PDF (2483KB) ( 455 )   Save
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    Aims We aim to evaluate the water sources of typical riparian arbor species (Populus euphratica) and shrub species (Tamarix ramosissima), and analyze the spatial and temporal dynamics of plant water source in Ejina Delta, the lower reaches of the Heihe River, China.Methods Eight sampling sites were selected in the riparian zones along the East River and West River in Ejina. The plant xylem water, soil moisture, rainwater, stream water and groundwater were taken and pretreated during the growing season in 2015-2016, and the stable oxygen isotope ratio (δ18O) for each water sample was measured. The δ18O of plant xylem water and soil moisture were compared to estimate the dominant depth of root water uptake, and the linear-mixed model called “IsoSource” were applied to determine plant water sources and quantify their proportions.Important findings This study indicated that the main recharge sources for P. euphratica and T. ramosissima were stream water and groundwater. The contributions of rain water to them was negligible due to the limited amount and the shallow infiltration depth of local rainfall. As affected by groundwater level fluctuation, soil physical properties, as well as lateral and vertical recharge of stream water on soil moisture, the dominant depth of root water uptake spatially varied. However, the relative contributions of stream water or groundwater to plant water sources did not change significantly across space. Populus euphratica used more stream water (68%), while T. ramosissima used more groundwater (65%). Plant water sources were sensitive to environmental flow controls. The contributions of stream water to the water sources of the two species went up to 84% and 48% for P. euphratica and T. ramosissima respectively during the discharge period, but dropped to 63% and 30% during the non-discharge period. On the other hand, the contributions of groundwater decreased to 16% and 52% during the discharge period, but increased to 37% and 70% during non-discharge period. It is noteworthy that the high similarity of δ18O between stream water and groundwater due to extensive water exchange in the riparian zone made increase the uncertain in quantifying plant water sources.

    Relationships between leaf thickness and vein traits of Achnatherum splendens under different soil moisture conditions in a flood plain wetland, Heihe River, China
    Ling HAN, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Ting XU, Wei FENG, Bei-Bei DUAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  529-538.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0123
    Abstract ( 386 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (980KB) ( 902 )   Save
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    Aims The correlations between leaf thickness and vein traits influenced the leaf hydraulic dynamic balance, and there were important meanings to reveal ecophysiological mechanisms of plant leaves water transport and growth rate. Our objective was to study the changes in the relationship between leaf thickness and vein traits (vein diameter, vein density) of Achnatherum splendenspopulations by using standardized major axis estimation (SMA) method under different soil moisture conditions located in flood plain wetland of Zhangye.Methods The study site was located at flood plains wetland of Zhangye, Gansu Province, China. Selecting a starting point along the vertical direction of the river, in turn, along the soil moisture gradient, four plots were set up at intervals of 40 m, plot I (50.07%), plot II (38.77%), plot III (31.5%) and plot IV (20.4%). From each of the four sample plots, seven samples were collected, resulting in (5 m × 5 m) a total of 28 samples. Community traits (height, density) and soil physical and chemical properties were investigated. Six individual samplings of A. splendens from each plot were used to measure the leaf thickness, vein density and vein diameter in laboratory. In addition, the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), leaf net photosynthetic rate (Pn) and transpiration rate (Tr) of A. splendens were measured in natural environment. The 28 plots were categorized into groups I, II, III and IV, and SMA estimation method was then used to examine the allometric relationship among leaf thickness, vein density and vein diameter. Important findings With a decreased soil moisture, the plant density and height displayed a pattern of steadily declining, while the soil electrical conductivity increased, In addition, the vein density, leaf thickness, water use efficiency (WUE), PAR and twig number of A. splendens displayed a pattern of initial decrease, whereas the vein diameter and Tr increase gradually, Pn and plant high displayed changing trends of increasing-decreasing. The leaf thickness was negatively associated with the vein density, vein diameter, and the relationship varied with the soil moisture conditions (p< 0.05). There was a significant positive relationship (p < 0.05) between the leaf thickness and vein density. The SMA slope of the regression equation gradually decreased and was significantly different from 1.0 (p < 0.05) on plot I and IV. In addition, along decreased soil moisture, the standardized major axis slope of regression equation in the scaling relationships between the leaf thickness and vein diameter gradually increased and was significantly different from -1.0 (p < 0.05) on plot I and IV.

    Growth-form regulates the altitudinal variation of interspecific seed mass of woody plants in Mt. Dalaoling, the Three Gorges Region, China
    Dao-Xin LI, Guo LI, Ze-Hao SHEN, Shen-Dong XU, Qing-Yu HAN, Gong-Fang WANG, Feng-Lei TIAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  539-548.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0285
    Abstract ( 300 )   HTML ( 9 )   PDF (1092KB) ( 447 )   Save
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    Aims Seed size is one of the most important characteristics of plant seeds, and has significant implications in plant ecological functions. Exploring the altitudinal pattern of seed size would help to detect environmental constraints on species distribution and understand the linkage between plant ecological function traits Methods The present study measured the quantitative features of seed size, including weight of 1 000 grain seeds, lengths of longer and shorter axes, and analyzed the relationships between seed size and altitude, as well as the influence of growth form. Seed samples were all collected from 201 locally common woody plants (belonging to 59 families and 87 genera) in the Dalaoling Natural Reserve in Yichang City, Hubei Province.Important findings Measured values of the seed mass, the longer axis, and the shorter axis of the 201 woody plant species all follow the lognormal distribution. Measurements of seed mass vary across five orders of magnitude. Significant correlation was found between seed mass, seed length of the longer and shorter axes (R2 = 0.755; 0.819; 0.630, p < 0.01). Moreover, seed mass of trees and small trees are significantly heavier than those of shrubs and woody vines. Seed mass values of evergreen broad leaved species are significantly heavier than those of deciduous broad leaved species and needle leaved species. Seed mass of all 201 species shows a slightly but statistically significant decreasing trend with the increase of altitude. In addition, altitudinal patterns of seed mass varied between species with different growth form. Our results indicated the variation of altitudinal trends of seed mass for different structural components of plant communities, implying the local community structure as a critical aspect of variation in macro-ecological patterns.

    Chemical composition of volatiles from the syconia of Ficus microcarpa and host recognition behavior of pollinating fig wasps
    Ting ZHANG, Bo WANG, Bai-Ge MIAO, Yan-Qiong PENG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  549-558.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0250
    Abstract ( 554 )   HTML ( 17 )   PDF (3578KB) ( 577 )   Save
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    Aims Chemical communication plays a key role in host plant recognition of pollinators. There are two recognized types of chemical communication between syconia and their pollinating fig wasps: one is “generalization”, of which the wasps respond to the relative ratio of multiple compounds, and the other is “specialization”, of which the key signal is a single uncommon, possibly unique, compound. The aims of this study were to identify the chemical composition of volatiles from the syconia of Ficus microcarpa at different developmental phases, and to determine if the signaling between F. microcarpa and its pollinating fig wasp, Eupristina verticillata, is of generalized type, or of specialized type.Methods The volatiles from syconia of F. microcarpa were extracted using solid-phase micro extraction (SPME) at different developmental phases (pre-female, female (before and after pollination), interfloral, male and postfloral phases) and the chemical compounds were identified by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). We then tested the behavioral responses of E. verticillata to fresh syconia at different developmental phases using two-choice olfactometers.Important findings There were 21 volatile compounds identified from the syconia at different developmental phases, which were mainly fatty acid derivatives, terpenoids and aromatic compounds. The components of the volatiles apparently differed among the developmental stages. The contents of terpenoids declined, but the contents of fatty acid derivatives increased, from before the pollination to after the pollination. Especially, the characteristic compounds of 2-heptanone and 3-octanone before the pollination disappeared, D-limonene decreased after the pollination, but copanene, cyclohexane and 2-hexenal increased. The results of the two-choice olfactometer experiment showed that the pollinating fig wasps had higher selection ratio to chemicals found in the female phase syconia than those in other phases; whereas the volatile compounds from the male phase syconia had the function pushing the pollinating fig wasps to leave the natal syconia so that there existed the “push-pull” responses by fig wasps to volatiles released by their host syconia. We conclude that there are multiple chemical compounds playing the roles in host recognition of pollinating fig wasp E. verticillata. The mutualistic relationship between F. microcarpa and E. verticillata is maintained by the chemical communication of “generalization” strategy.

    Research Articles
    Effects of light intensity variation on nitrogen and phosphorus contents, allocation and limitation in five shade-enduring plants
    Hong-Tao XIE, Mu-Kui YU, Xiang-Rong CHENG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  559-569.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0248
    Abstract ( 513 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (2181KB) ( 656 )   Save
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    Aims To enhance the understanding on nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) physiological responses to different light environments in shade-enduring plants and provide references to improve the stand structure and ecosystem functions of plantation forests.Methods We selected seedlings of five shade-enduring species with high ecological and economic value in subtropical area of China to study the effects of light intensity on leaf N and P contents, allocation and nutrient limitation in shade-enduring plants. A light intensity gradient of five different levels was set to simulate the varying understory light environment.Important findings With decreasing light intensity, the total biomass and total N and P accumulation of five shade-enduring plants all showed a decreasing trend, but N, P contents in different organs increased. Among them, Gardenia jasminoides (GJ) had the highest while Illicium henryi (IH) had the lowest N content; The P contents of Quercus phillyraeoides (QP) and GJ were significantly higher than Elaeocarpus sylvestris (ES), Ardisia crenata (AC) and IH. QP and GJ had the highest N, P contents under extremely low light intensity (6% natural light intensity) condition (LIC), while AC and IH had the highest N and P contents in low (15% natural light intensity) and moderate (33% and 52% natural light intensity) LIC. ES demanded differently for LIC on N and P, which were 52% and 6% natural light intensity, respectively. N and P allocation of ES, AC and IH followed leaf > root > stem, but for QP and GJ were root > leaf > stem. Decreasing LIC significantly affected N and P allocation. N content variations shown good consistency among different organs under higher LIC (100% natural light intensity) while distinct variability under lower LIC (15% and 6% natural light intensity) in all five species. Phosphorus contents exhibited good consistency in IH, QP and GJ but varied in ES and AC. Decreasing LIC significantly affected organ N/P ratios of shade-enduring plants, but the fundamental growth restriction patterns remained. Light intensity variation and tree species co-regulated N, P utilization and allocation in shade-enduring plants, and then affected the total biomass and total N, P accumulation, which might result from the change of N and P utilization strategy. Therefore, light intensity preference and N, P nutrient balances in shade-enduring plants should be taken into account when constructing multiple layer and uneven-aged forests.

    Effects of shading on photosynthetic characteristics and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters in leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla
    Jian-Guo CAI, Meng-Qi WEI, Yi ZHANG, Yun-Long WEI
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  570-576.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0245
    Abstract ( 639 )   HTML ( 22 )   PDF (900KB) ( 842 )   Save
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    Aims The objectives were to investigate the effects of different light intensities on photosynthetic characteristics and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, to clarify the physiological responses and photo-protective mechanisms of Hydrangea macrophylla to changes in light regimes in view of the distribution of energy absorbed and photosynthetic characteristics.Methods Three light regimes including natural and shade (shading rate 50% and 75% of natural light) were applied to plants for 60 days. After the treatment, the gas-exchange, chlorophyll a fluorescence and photosynthesis-light curves were measured by a portable leaf gas exchange system (LI-6400).Important findings The results showed that the weak light intensity treatment reduced dark respiration rate, light compensation point and light saturation point of plant, but increased apparent quantum yield, suggesting that plants had the physiological strategy to utilize the weakening light by reducing respiration. The net photosynthetic rate, intercellular CO2 concentration, transpiration rate and water use efficiency of plants grown below 50% of natural light showed significant difference compared with natural and shading rate 75% of natural light. There were significant difference between natural and shade treatments in the maximal quantum efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm), as indicated that it was significantly less at full light than that at 50% of natural light. Initial fluorescence intensity (Fo) of plants was higher at full light than that at 50% of natural light, suggesting that photoinhibition occurred in natural light. The non-photochemical quenching (NQP) decreased with the aggravation of shade stress, indicating that shading decreased the efficiency of photochemical reaction by reducing the fraction of incident light in photochemical energy utilization and decreased thermal dissipation through regulating energy distribution in photosystem II (PSII) in the leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla. In general, the 70% of incident light in photochemical energy utilization was distributed to thermal dissipation, 20% was distributed to non-regulated energy dissipation and 4% was distributed to effective photochemical reaction. In conclusion, responses of plants to increased irradiance are governed by strategy: to utilize a high fraction of incident light in photochemistry and regulate energy dissipation in PSII and weaken the accumulation of excess excitation energy in PSII to protect the photosynthetic apparatus in the leaves of H. macrophylla under saturated radiation.

    Method and Technology
    Point pattern analysis under conditions of replicated sampling
    Xin-Ting WANG, Wei-Hua ZHANG, Chao JIANG, Cun-Zhu LIANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  577-584.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0383
    Abstract ( 459 )   HTML ( 20 )   PDF (1150KB) ( 757 )   Save
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    Aims The analysis of point patterns, which deals with data sets consisting of mapped locations of organisms in a study region, is especially important to plant ecological studies because the locations of plants can often be approximated as points. However, few studies used point pattern analysis with data collected by replicated sampling a principle procedure of acquiring data in ecological research. Therefore, we explore the applicability of point pattern analysis under conditions of replicated sampling in this studyMethodsThree replicated 5 m × 5 m plots of homogenous communities were established on a site with eight years of restoration in Nei Mongol steppe. In each plot, the locations of individuals in Leymus chinensis and Stipa grandis populations were mapped. O-Ring function was used to describe the population patterns and species association between L. chinensis and S. grandis for each plot as well as the integrative data of the three replicates.Important findings Population patterns and species associations differed among the three replicated plots. This illustrates that if point pattern analysis was applied to describe the population patterns and species associations only by using data from a single plot sampling, the results could be misleading. Whereas it would be more reliable to integrate the data of replicated plots in the point pattern analysis because in this way the resulting O-Ring function is a weighted average, where the weight is the number of points in the replicate i divided by the total number of points in all replicated plots.

    A review of belowground biomass allocation and its response to global climatic change in grassland ecosystems
    Yue YAN, Jian-Jun ZHU, Bin ZHANG, Yan-Jie ZHANG, Shun-Bao LU, Qing-Min PAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (5):  585-596.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0062
    Abstract ( 614 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (888KB) ( 887 )   Save
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    Biomass allocations between aboveground and belowground organs provide pivotal information for connecting aboveground productivity and belowground carbon sequestration. As accurate measurement of belowground biomass is essential for determining the biomass allocation, we first reviewed the methods in quantifying belowground biomass and their merits. We then presented the major advances on plant biomass allocations between aboveground and belowground organs, as well as the potential drivers such as precipitation, warming, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and nitrogen deposition. We finally provided a list of challenges in studying belowground biomass allocation for the future. This review has important implications for studies on carbon cycling in grassland ecosystems under the changing climate.

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