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Table of Content
    Volume 41 Issue 7
    10 July 2017

    The scenery of karst seasonal rain forest in Guangxi Nonggang National Nature Reserve (Photographed by NONG Zheng-Quan). Jiang et al. sorted and analyzed the species composition, preferred habitat, flowering time, fruiting time and fruit types of climbing seed plants in Nonggang karst seasonal rain forests, and then discussed the species diversity and the reproductive features of climbing seed plants and their relationship with habitat resources (Pages 716–728 of this issue).

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    Research Articles
    Phylogenetic structure and diversity of herbaceous communities in the conifer forests along an elevational gradient in Luya Mountain, Shanxi, China
    Ming-Fei ZHAO, Feng XUE, Yu-Hang WANG, Guo-Yi WANG, Kai-Xiong XING, Mu-Yi KANG, Jing-Lan WANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  707-715.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0247
    Abstract ( 560 )   HTML ( 19 )   PDF (1150KB) ( 704 )   Save
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    Aims Incorporating phylogenetic data in the studies of species diversity patterns along elevational gradients can bridge the gap between ecological and evolutionary processes, and thus shed light on the issues related to community assemblage. We aim is to explore the elevational patterns of phylogenetic relatedness and phylodiversity in the herbaceous angiosperm assemblages of alpine conifer forest within mountain ecosystem, and to quantify the relationship between the patterns and habitat factors. Methods We sampled 17 plots (20 m × 30 m) in the coniferous forest communities at ca. 50 m altitudinal intervals along the elevation gradient. In each plot, we documented all species encountered and the environmental conditions. We used the Net Relatedness Index (NRI) and Nearest Taxon Index (NTI) to quantify the phylogenetic structures of each herbaceous assemblage, and used the Mean Pairwise Distance and Mean Nearest Taxon Distance to quantify phylogenetic beta diversity. Ordinary least square regression and multiple regression on distance matrices were employed respectively to explore the elevational trends of phylogenetic structure and phylobetadiversity. We analyzed the taxonomic composition of the herbaceous assemblages within forests, and demonstrated the relationship between the clustering of clades and the significant habitat descriptors using principal coordinates of phylogenetic structure (PCPS). Important findings The result showed that the herbaceous communities tended to be more phylogenetically overdispersed at lower elevations, suggesting that intraspecific competition potentially influences the local assemblages. In contrast, species occurring at high-elevation sites tended to be more closely related, implying that these communities are structured primarily by environmental filtering. However, we found that all of the NRI (or NTI) were confined within 95% confidence intervals, suggesting strong contributions of stochastic processes on species assembly. Phylogenetic beta diversity significantly increased with the elevational distance between community pairs, also suggesting that habitat filtering probably played an important role on structuring the herbaceous communities. The first two axes of PCPS contained 55.9% of total variation in phylogeny-weighted species composition, and were both significantly related with elevation and arboreal basal area. We found that species of large families, including Asteraceae and Poaceae, were phylogenetically clustered at high elevations, whereas the others were phylogenetically overdispersed at low elevation region. Our findings suggest that exploring the patterns of phylogenetic structures across elevational gradients is important, which can provide insights into the underlying mechanisms shaping community composition within montane ecosystems.

    Diversity of climbing seed plants and their reproductive habit in a karst seasonal rain forest in Nonggang, Guangxi, China
    Yu-Liang JIANG, Xian-Kun LI, Yi-Li GUO, Tao DING, Bin WANG, Wu-Sheng XIANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  716-728.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0364
    Abstract ( 701 )   HTML ( 9 )   PDF (4050KB) ( 514 )   Save
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    Aims Diversity of climbing seed plants and their reproductive habits and characteristics are central for the understanding of community structure and dynamics of forests and hence are important for forest protection. However, little is known about the climbing seed plants in northern tropical karst seasonal rain forests. Here, using the data of the species diversity and reproductive habits of climbing seed plants in Nonggang, Guangxi, China, we aim to 1) explore the species diversity and distribution of climbing seed plants in northern tropical karst seasonal rain forests, 2) study the flowering and fruiting phenology and 3) the associations of reproductive characteristics to the environment. Methods Species composition, preferred habitat, flowering time, fruiting time and fruit types of climbing seed plants were surveyed. The seasonality of flowering and fruiting were analyzed by concentration ratio and circular distribution. Climbing seed plants were divided into three groups according to their growth forms and places in spatial forest structure: bush ropes, herbaceous vines and lianas. Monthly flowering ratios, fruiting ratios, fruit types and their ratios in different groups were determined. These relationships of flowering ratio, fruiting ratio, fruit type and its ratio to meteorological factors were investigated using Pearson correlation analysis. Important findings There were a total of 333 species of climbing seed plants in Nonggang karst seasonal rain forest, belonging to 145 genera and 56 families. Bush ropes, herbaceous vines and lianas contained 119, 88 and 126 species, respectively. At species level, herbaceous vines were more abundance in valleys, while bush ropes and lianas were more abundance on slopes. Flowering and fruiting of climbing seed plants occurred seasonally, with flowering peaking in April to September, while fruiting peaking in July to December. The seasonality of flowering and fruiting in bush ropes was weaker than in herbaceous vines and lianas. Flowering ratio was significantly positively correlated with rainfall and air temperature, which suggest that flowering peaks in monsoon season. Peak time for fruiting was about three months later than the peak time of flowering, around the end of monsoon season. The ratio of samara species to all fruiting species in lianas was significantly positively correlated with wind speed, but negatively correlated with rainfall and air temperature. It showed that samara in lianas tended to occur in dry season with high wind speed. In conclusion, species diversity and the seasonal features of reproduction of climbing seed plants in Nonggang karst seasonal rain forest were closely related to the spatial and temporal variations of habitat resources.

    Diversity of dark septate endophyte in the roots of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus and its companion plants
    Qian SUN, Zi-Ke XUE, Lin-Lin XIE, Xue-Li HE, Li-Li ZHAO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  729-737.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0270
    Abstract ( 552 )   HTML ( 12 )   PDF (2642KB) ( 506 )   Save
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    Aims Dark septate endophytes (DSE) extensively colonize in plant root tissues in different ecosystems. However, our understanding of the ecological significance of DSE in semiarid and arid lands is limited. The main objective of this study was to compare the community composition and species diversity of DSE in Ammopiptanthus mongolicus and its companion plants in desert habitats. Methods Healthy root samples of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus’s companion plants, Artemisia desertorum, Caragana rosea, Nitraria tangutorum and Caragana korshinskii, were collected separately from four main locations of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus plantation in Dengkou of Nei Mongol, Minqin of Gansu, Yinchuan and Shapotou of Ningxia in July 2013. Important findings A total of 103 strains belonging to seven species (i.e Alternaria, Curvularia, Embellisia, Phialocephala, Phoma, Podospora and Pleosporales) of DSE were isolated from the four types of companion plants by means of morphological identification and molecular identification. Among the seven genera, Alternaria, Embellisia, Curvularia and Podospora are found for the first time in desert ecosystems. Ammopiptanthus mongolicus and its companion plants at the same site had significantly different community composition of DSE. Ammopiptanthus mongolicus and its companion plants at different sites had significantly different DSE diversity index. The colonization and species richness of DSE, especially the species and the quantity of spores were higher in roots of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus than in its companion plants. This study supports the results that DSE can form a better symbiotic relationship with the roots of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus than with its companion plants, and can enhance the ecological adaptability of Ammopiptanthus mongolicus to the extreme desert environment.

    Age of arboreous Tamarix austromongolica and its growth response to environment in Tongde County of Qinghai, China
    Ou-Ya FANG, Heng-Feng JIA, Hong-Yan QIU, Hai-Bao REN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  738-748.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0088
    Abstract ( 395 )   HTML ( 10 )   PDF (1895KB) ( 742 )   Save
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    Aims The objectives were to identify the age of the arboreous Tamarix austromongolica in the flood plain area of the Qinghai Plateau and clarify the response patterns of T. austromongolica’s growth to the environmental factors. We focused on social issues about whether the T. austromongolica should be protected and how to protect in the reservoir area of a hydropower station. Methods In this study, arboreous T. austromongolica in both reservoir submerged and non-submerged areas were sampled and measured based on the dendrochronology method. The ages were estimated based on the geometrical characteristics of the pith and the identified age of the inner ring. The correlation and response analysis showed the relationship between T. austromongolica’s growth and environmental factors. Important findings We accurately determined the age and historical growth dynamics of the T. austromongolica with large diameter at breast height (DBH). The results showed a special accretion phenomenon in arboreous T. austromongolica, which accelerated the DBH increasing, i.e. no direct relationship existed between the plants’ DBH and ages of the individuals. Radial growth of T. austromongolica, increased rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s and began to stabilize in the late 1980s, and mainly responded to the runoff in July and August of the Yellow River. Increasing runoff would promote the radial growth of T. austromongolica. The growth of the immaturate plant showed significant negative correlation with the wind speed in the growing season. The results will be of theoretical significance to the formation of the special morphology of the T. austromongolica, and will provide scientific practical guidance in designing the protection schemes.

    Spatiotemporal variation and scale effect of canopy leaf area index of larch plantation on a slope of the semi-humid Liupan Mountains, Ningxia, China
    Ze-Bin LIU, Yan-Hui WANG, Yu LIU, Ao TIAN, Ya-Rui WANG, Hai-Jun ZUO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  749-760.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0288
    Abstract ( 305 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1233KB) ( 447 )   Save
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    Aims Leaf area index (LAI) is an important canopy structure parameter characterizing ecological and hydrological processes, such as forest growth, canopy interception and transpiration. Forest LAI is limited by both light and soil water availability, thus may vary with slope position and seasonality. This study is aimed at the spatiotemporal variation of LAI and its relationship with environmental variables. Methods A 34-years-old Larix gmelinii var. principis-rupprechtii planted forest situated on a typical slope located in a small watershed of Xiangshuihe within Liupan Mountains was selected for LAI observations. Sixteen plots along a 30 m wide transect along the slope was surveyed from May to October of 2015 to measure the monthly canopy LAI. Important findings It showed there was a remarkable difference of LAI among slope positions. The LAI in May decreased toward downslope direction with a scale effect of -0.02/100 m. Whereas for the period from June to August, LAI showed a nonlinear variation along slope positions: increasing from to top slope downward, reaching its maximum at the middle slope, and then decreasing to the slope foot. The scale effect of LAI was +0.15/100, +0.16/100, and +0.18/100 m in the slope range (downward positive) of 0-244.2 m, but -0.09/100, -0.08/100, and -0.07/100 m in the slope range of 244.2-425.1 m for June, July and August, respectively. The LAI increased toward downslope in September and October, with a slope scale effect of +0.03/100 m and +0.09/100 m, respectively. The seasonal variation of LAI-slope relationship showed a shift from the light and temperature control in the early growing season, to the soil water resources control in the mid growing season, and then to an integrated control of many factors in the late growing season. In the early growing season when soil moisture and nutrients were abundant, terrain shading limited the leaf growth in middle and downslope. From early to the mid growing season, the soil moisture on the slope was quickly depleted due to fast evapotranspiration and poor moisture retention of the coarse soil. On the other hand, average solar height increased, and allowed direct light radiation to penetrate to the middle then downslope. The result is that the leaf growth in the middle slope was the strongest in the mid growing season. During the late growing season, the temperature decreased fast in the mountain top to incur earlier leaf fall than the mountain foot. Thus the LAI exhibited the increasing trend toward the downslope.

    Correlation between vein density and water use efficiency of Salix matsudana in Zhangye Wetland, China
    Ting XU, Cheng-Zhang ZHAO, Ling HAN, Wei FENG, Bei-Bei DUAN, Hui-Ling ZHENG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  761-769.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0188
    Abstract ( 406 )   HTML ( 0 )   PDF (1042KB) ( 499 )   Save
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    Aims The correlation between vein density and water use efficiency (WUE) affects the balance between water supply and demand of plant leaves, which is significant for comprehending the ecological adaptation strategies of plants. The objective of this study was to study how Salix matsudana modulated vein density and WUE along a soil moisture gradient in Zhangye Wetland, China. Methods The study was conducted in floodplain wetland near Heihe River in Zhangye City, Gansu Province, China. Three sample plots, at a spatial interval of 70 m, were set up along a soil moisture gradient ordinally from the area near the water body to the wetland edge, plot I (69.23%), spot II (48.38%) and spot III (35.27%). Community traits were investigated by using diagonal method, and all individuals of S. matsudana were used for measurements of height and canopy. At each plot, 5 individuals of S. matsudana at 4 vertices and diagonal intersection were selected for measurements of vein density, WUE, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), transpiration rate (Tr), photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), saturated vapor pressure differences (VPD), specific leaf area, stomatal conductance (Gs) and intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci). We used mathematical methods of correlation analysis and standardized major axis to investigate relationships between vein density and WUE. Important findings With decreasing soil moisture, the height, canopy, specific leaf area, Gs and Ci of S. matsudana decreased gradually, while the vein density, WUE, Pn, Tr, PAR and VPD increased gradually. The correlation between vein density and WUE was positive in all the three plots, but the relationship varied along the soil moisture plots gradient. There was a highly significant positive correlation (p < 0.01) between the vein density and WUE at plot I and III, whereas the correlation only reached a significant level (p < 0.05) at plot II; The correlation coefficient between vein density and WUE is significantly smaller than 1 at plot I (p < 0.05), while the correlation coefficient is significant greater than 1 at plot II and III (p < 0.05). We can conclude that varied relationships between vein density and WUE of S. matsudana along a soil moisture gradient could reflect plant acclimation.

    Predicting the global areas for potential distribution of Gastrodia elata based on ecological niche models
    Qin ZHANG, Dong-Fang ZHANG, Ming-Li WU, Jie GUO, Cheng-Zhong SUN, Cai-Xiang XIE
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  770-778.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0380
    Abstract ( 341 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (1294KB) ( 408 )   Save
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    Aims Previous studies on the globally suitable areas for growing the medicinal plant Gastrodia elata is lacking. This study aims to predict the global areas for potential distribution of this plant based on multiple ecological niche models. Methods A total of 220 global distribution points of G. elata and 19 ecological variables were compiled and eight environmental variables were selected for the model training. Three ecological niche models, including BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, and MAXENT, were used to predict the global areas for potential distribution of G. elata. The resulting data of different models were analyzed and compared with two statistical criteria: the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and Kappa value. Important findings The predictions of the three models are basically identical, showing that the global areas for potential distribution of G. elata are predominantly in the range of 20° N to 50° N in Asia, mainly in China, South Korea and Japan. A small proportion of the suitable areas occur in India, Nepal and the European countries near Mediterranean. The most suitable areas distribute in provinces close to the Sichuan Basin and the central East China, the mid-eastern parts of South Korea such as Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam- do, and the Kyushu region and the Shikoku region on Japan’s main island. Therefore, these three countries can be used as the main production areas of G. elata for its commercial development. The AUC average values of the three models are all above 0.9 and the Kappa average values all above 0.65, justifying their applications for predicting the potential areas of G. elata. Among them, the MAXENT model appears to perform the best, followed by DOMAIN and BIOCLIM.

    Preliminary study on pollen distribution in the surface soil of the Turpan region in the southern slope of Tianshan Mountains, Xinjiang, China
    Li WANG, Yun ZHANG, Zhao-Chen KONG, Zhen-Jing YANG, Shun YAN, Yue-Cong LI
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  779-786.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0019
    Abstract ( 220 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1219KB) ( 282 )   Save
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    Aims Our main purposes were to analyze the relationship between vegetation and pollen in the surface soil of the Turpan region, which is located in the southern slope of the eastern Tianshan Mountains, and to compare different pollen assemblages between the Turpan region and the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains.Methods We collected 36 modern pollen samples and carried out modern vegetation survey in the Turpan region along an altitudinal gradient from 2 000 m to -154 m. Detrended correspondence analysis and Redundancy analysis were applied to analyze the distribution pattern of pollen in surface soils. Important findings We divided the pollen spectra into four pollen assemblage zones (mountain desert-steppe and desert, Gobi gravel, typical desert and salt mash vegetation), corresponding to the major vegetation types in the Turpan region. When compared with the northern slope, the characteristics of pollen assemblages in the mountain desert-steppe and desert were similar to those in the forest-steppe on the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains; the pollen assemblages in the Gobi gravel and the typical desert seemed to be more consistent with those in the typical desert on the northern slope; however, no analogue was found in the salt mash vegetation. Obviously, the vertical pollen spectra in Turpan region were incomplete, lacking typical forest and Artemisia desert pollen zones. Besides, similar pollen zones in the Turpan region were found at an elevation of about 300 m higher than those in the northern slope. It is remarkable that the typical tree pollen, such as Picea and Pinus, showed their extra representation in the Turpan region. On one hand, the valley forest on the southern slope of the Tianshan mountains played an important role in pollen dispersal. On the other hand, with the cold air on the northern slope over the Tianshan Mountains, pollen may be carried and deposited in the Turpan region. The rivers feeding into Aiding Lake in the Turpan region may also contribute to the distribution of Picea and Pinuspollen. Lots of pollen studies have shown that the ratio of Artemisia to Chenopodiaceae (A/C) can be used as a good indicator of the degree of humidity in the semi-arid and arid areas. Our study revealed that A/C can roughly reflect the characteristics of the desert zone in the study area. The results of Redundancy Analysis ordination on pollen assemblages and environmental factors (mean annual temperature (MAT), mean annual precipitation (MAP) and altitude (ALT)) revealed that MAP was the main environmental factor affecting the pollen assemblages in the surface soil in the Turpan region and had more significant effects on the distribution of Nitraria pollen than on the distribution of Artemisia and Chenopodiaceae.

    Method and Technology
    A new angiosperms molecular specimen treatment method for field use
    Feng-Jiao SHEN, Qian-Qian REN, Qi DONG, Li ZHU, Jian-Fang ZHANG, Jing YANG, Ran ZHANG, Hong-Zhu LIANG, Jian-Cheng ZHAO, Shuo SHI
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  787-794.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0322
    Abstract ( 273 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (2236KB) ( 403 )   Save
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    Aims This study aims to identify a more convenient drying method for obtaining molecular specimen of angiosperms in the field than the conventional silica gel drying method. Methods The leaves of Prunus serrulata var. lannesiana and Liriope spicata were dried under temperatures of 150 °C, 80 °C, 40 °C as well as under natural conditions, and by the silica gel drying method, respectively. The DNA extracts of various specimens were then analyzed using techniques of spectrophotometer detection, electrophoresis and PCR to evaluate the impacts of different drying treatments to the genomic DNA of testing plants. Important findings The concentrations of total DNA were higher for the specimens dried at 40 °C treatment and by the silica gel drying method than other treatments when assessed by the techniques of spectrophotometer detection and electrophoresis. The concentration of PCR products was highest in the specimens dried at 40 °C. Based on the results, the 40 °C drying can be recommended for obtaining molecular specimens of angiosperms because of its minimum degree of degradation, for convenience of operation and avoiding carrying large amounts of silica gel in field investigations.

    Reviews
    Advancement in studies of tree growth and ecophysiology incorporating micro-sampling approach
    Xia-Li GUO, Bi-Yun YU, Han-Xue LIANG, Jian-Guo HUANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  795-804.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0009
    Abstract ( 619 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (1259KB) ( 793 )   Save
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    The recently developed micro-sampling approach has been widely used to extract micro-tree-cores at weekly intervals to monitor the process of stem cambial activity and xylem formation. Compared with the traditional dendrochronology, the micro-sampling approach enables us to better understand the inherent physiological processes in tree growth and their relationships with the environment at a more precise level. This review article aims to: 1) summarize the progresses in the micro-sampling approach-based studies published over recent years and its potential applications, and 2) elucidate the relationships between primary growth and secondary growth and the response mechanisms of radial growth of trees to global change (global warming, drought, and carbon and nitrogen fertilization effects) based on information from literature. It is anticipated that this review will assist with predicting productivity and carbon sink potential of forests, and help policy-makers with sustainable forest management decisions.

    Ecophysiological mechanisms of plant growth under the influence of rhizosphere oxygen concentration: A review
    Xiao-Lan ZHENG, Rui-Jiao WANG, Qun-Fa ZHAO, Yong-Peng LIU, Yuan-Yuan WANG, Zhi-Qiang SUN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (7):  805-814.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0042
    Abstract ( 327 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (925KB) ( 462 )   Save
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    Oxygen is an essential substance for plants, and adequate oxygen supply is necessary for plant growth and developments. As one of the major abiotic threats to plants, frequent floods could lead to oxygen deficiency in the rhizosphere. Therefore, it is important to understand the response and adaptive mechanisms of plants to rhizosphere oxygen concentration for crop productions and breeding of resistant varieties. This review shed light on the impacts of rhizosphere oxygen contents on plants from multiple perspectives. We also demonstrated the injury and acclimations caused by oxygen deficiency and the mechanism of low-oxygen signaling. We finally summarized methods to avoid oxygen deficit and prospect of further studies.


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