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Table of Content
    Volume 42 Issue 2
    20 February 2018
    The scenery of summer grazing pasture in Sha’ertao Mountain, northern Xinjiang, China (Photographed by LU Wei-Hua). Using 15 kinds of seeds from leguminous plants in summer grazing pasture of Sha’ertao Mountain and the phased total fecal collection method, Wang et al. studied the effect of sheep rumen digestion on leguminous seeds, and concluded that digestive tract dispersal was an effective way for leguminous seed dispersal (Pages 185–194 of this issue).
    A review of the calibration methods for measuring the carbon and oxygen isotopes in CO2 based on isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy
    Jia-Ping PANG, Xue-Fa WEN
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2018, 42 (2):  143-152.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0206
    Abstract ( 553 )   HTML ( 63 )   PDF (937KB) ( 775 )   Save
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    With the development of isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy (IRIS) technology, it is now possible for the in situ high temporal resolution and high precision measurement of carbon isotopic composition (δ 13C) and oxygen isotopic composition (δ 18O) of atmospheric CO2, which overcomes the low temporal resolution and labor intensive shortcoming of traditional isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). The dependence of δ 13C and δ 18O on CO2 concentration (termed as concentration dependence) and the drift due to sensitivity to changing environmental conditions (termed as instrumental drift) are the two main sources of error affecting the IRIS measurements. Therefore, it is important to obtain precise measurements by constructing a proper calibration strategy to solve the concentration dependence and instrumental drift. In this study, we briefly discussed the definition and related theoretical principle of concentration dependence, and elaborated the theoretical and empirical calibration methods of concentration dependence. Moreover, we introduced the calibration methods of instrumental drift, and reviewed the state of the art of calibration methods and its application of IRIS technology. Additionally, we briefly discussed the definition and method of data traceability to the international standard, and reviewed its application of IRIS technology. Finally, we recommend that concentration dependence is corrected by using three standards or above with known CO2 concentration and its δ 13C and δ 18O, bracketing the CO2 concentration of samples. The instrumental drift is corrected by setting appropriate calibration frequency and all dataset are traceable to the international standard. In the future, the comparative study of different IRIS instruments and calibration methods should be enhanced, and the similar methods should be used for measuring CH4, N2O and H2O isotopes by IRIS technique. The IRIS technology combined with other technology will provide a new opportunity for ecological research.

    Research Articles
    Dynamics in foliar litter decomposition for Pinus koraiensis and Quercus mongolica in a snow-depth manipulation experiment
    WU Qi-Qian, WANG Chuan-Kuan
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  153-163.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0184
    Abstract ( 549 )   HTML ( 38 )   PDF (1144KB) ( 536 )   Save
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    Aims Changes in snowpack induced by climate change may alter water and heat regimes at the ground surface, thus influencing activities of decomposers and litter decomposition in snow-covered regions. However, effects of snow-depth changes on litter decomposition are unclear. Our objective was to characterize the decomposition dynamics of two contrasting tree species—Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) and Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) in a snow-depth manipulation experiment.

    Methods The snow-depth manipulation experiment that included three treatments (i.e., snow-addition, snow-removal, and control) was conducted in a temperate Korean pine plantation in the Maoershan Forest Ecosystem Research Station, Northeast China. Air-dried foliar litter of the pine or oak (10 g litter per bag) was sealed in a nylon litterbag (15 cm × 20 cm). A total of 648 litterbags (3 plots × 3 treatments × 2 tree species × 3 replicates × 12 sampling dates) were placed evenly on the forest floor in October 2014. Three replicate litterbags per species were buried in each treatment plot and sampled 12 times (i.e., freezing onset stage, deep freezing stage, thawing stage, early, middle and late snow-free seasons) during the two-year period (2014-2016) to determine the temporal variation of the decomposition rate. Associated factors (i.e., mean temperature at litter layer, freeze-thaw cycle, available nitrogen and phosphorus at the organic layer) were measured simultaneously.

    Important findings Tree species, snow-depth treatment, decomposition stage, and the measured associated factors all influenced the decomposition rates of the foliar litter. The litter mass loss was 52.1%-54.5% for the pine, and 53.9%-59.1% for the oak during the two-year period. The decomposition coefficients for the litter of the two species were the highest in the snow-addition plot, and the lowest in the snow-removal plot. Moreover, the snow-depth manipulation dramatically changed the relative contribution of the mass loss (R ratio) during the snow-covered or snow-free seasons to the yearly total loss. Compared with the control, the snow-addition treatment increased the R ratio during the snow-covered season by 9.1% for the pine and 10.4% for the oak, while the snow-removal treatment increased the R ratio during the snow-free season by 10.4% and 12.7%, respectively. In conclusion, changes in snowpack induced by climate change may significantly affect the foliar decomposition in temperate forests, and also alter the relative contribution of the litter decomposition in the snow-covered and snow-free seasons to the yearly decomposition.

    Response of fine roots to precipitation change: A meta-analysis
    ZHANG Xin, XING Ya-Juan, YAN Guo-Yong, WANG Qing-Gui
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  164-172.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0203
    Abstract ( 686 )   HTML ( 61 )   PDF (1161KB) ( 911 )   Save
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    Aims The response of fine roots to soil moisture is very sensitive. Climate change scenarios predict changes in precipitation which influence soil moisture directly. Plants optimize resource acquisition by fine root morphological plasticity and biomass redistribution when soil moisture changes. Therefore, it is important to study the effect of precipitation increase and decrease on fine roots and reveal the response of ecosystem carbon cycling to global climate change.

    Methods We collected 202 sets of data from 48 published domestic and foreign articles, and analized the responses of fine root biomass, production, turnover, root length density, specific root length and soil microbial biomass carbon which reflects fine root decomposition dynamic to precipitation change by the meta-analysis. RR++ (weighted response ratio) was used to quantify the effect size of the response of fine roots to precipitation change.

    Important findings (1) The significance and magnitude of the precipitation effects on fine roots varied among plant types. Shrub fine roots had stronger response than tree fine roots. (2) The response of fine roots differed across soil depth. Fine root had most significant responses when the precipitation increased or decreased 50%. A 50% increase in precipitation had a significant positive impact on both fine root biomass in 20-40 cm soil and specific root length in 0-10 cm soil depth. A 50% decreased in precipitation had a significant negative impact on fine root production in 20-40 cm soil but positive impact on root length density in 0-10 cm soil. (3) The duration of experiment affected the response of fine roots, fine roots responded to precipitation changes (increase and decrease) by morphological plasticity in short-term experiments, and by biomass redistribution in long-term experiments. (4) Increasing precipitation contributed to the nutrient release of fine roots, because soil microbes accelerated the decomposability of fine roots due to sufficient substrate resources stimulated their own activity.

    Changes in nutrient cycling with age in a Cunninghamia lanceolata plantation forest
    CHEN Ri-Sheng, KANG Wen-Xing, ZHOU Yu-Quan, TIAN Da-Lun, XIANG Wen-Hua
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  173-184.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0209
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    Aims The purpose of this study is to investigate the characteristics of nutrient cycling in Cunninghamia lanceolata plantations) with different ages, and to provide scientific basis for the management of high-yield plantations in China.

    Methods In this study, we used the ecological data of the past 25 years in Hunan Huitong Ecological Station and analyzed the nutrient cycling characteristics of the C.lanceolata plantation forests with different ages according to the law of tree growth and the dynamics of nutrient uptake.

    Important findings For most nutrients, their concentrations ranked in order as leaf > twig > bark > root > stem for all C. lanceolata trees with any ages. When the tree age was less than 12 years, nutrient concentrations increased with age, while they decreased with age when the tree was more than 12 years old. The changes in average annual nutrient uptake with age showed two peaks. Nutrient return gradually increases with age. For the same age, the nutrient use efficiency followed the order of phosphorus (P) > potassium (K) > nitrogen (N) > magnesium (Mg) > calcium (Ca). After the stand was closed, the nutrient utilization efficiency increases with the growth and development of trees. The cycling intensity of Ca and Mg was greater than that of N and P at the same stand age. The changes in nutrient cycling intensity with age varying curve with stand age acted as parabolic curve. Utilization of N, P and K was longer than displayed a parabolic shape for all elements. The utilization time of each element got shorter with increasing stand age. These results suggested that the nutrient uptake in different growthstages was not only controlled by the quantity of biomass, but also affected by the difference in nutrient concentration between previous and current stages. The nutrient cycling processes were jointly controlled by the mechanisms of nutrient redistribution and storage in Cunninghamia lanceolata,during the growth and development stages, and the nutrient use efficiency during different growth stages.

    Effect of sheep digestive tract on the recovery and germination of seeds of fifteen leguminous plants in the northern Xinjiang region, China
    WANG Shu-Lin, LU Wei-Hua, CHEN Yi-Shi, JING Peng-Cheng
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  185-194.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0118
    Abstract ( 309 )   HTML ( 21 )   PDF (1034KB) ( 609 )   Save
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    Aims The objective of this study was to learn the effect of sheep digestive tract on the recovery and germination of seeds of fifteen leguminous plants in the northern Xinjiang region.

    Methods The seeds were collected from fifteen leguminous species which were widely distributed in the natural mowing pasture of the northern Xinjiang region. After determining their morphological characteristics (seed length, width, thickness, single seed mass, and seed shape index), seeds were fed to sheep. Faeces collection was carried out at 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 h after seeds were eaten by sheep. Seed recovery percentage (SRP), mean retention time (MRT) and seed germinability before and after ingested were determined, and the relationships between seed size, seed shape index and SRP, MRT after ingested were also studied.

    Important findings Seed mass ranged from 1.50 to 37.68 mg, and seed shape index between 0.001 and 0.12, which indicated the seeds are all medium or large type sphericity (round) seeds. Seed excretion dynamic followed a Gaussian model: Y = 0.02 + 0.74e -0.5(( X - 29.61)/9.41)2 (R 2 = 0.62, p < 0.01), and excretion peak appeared 24-36 h after digestion. Seed recovery rate was ranged from 39.25% (Glycyrrhiza glabra) to 4.28% (Melilotus officinalis). The MRT ranged from 37.19 h (Melilotus officinalis) to 22.33 h (Oxytropis sinkiangensis). The relationship between SRP and seed size is expressed as the equation Y = 6.45 + 2.05X - 0.04X 2 (R 2 = 0.41, p < 0.05). The relationship between seed SRP and seed shape index is expressed as the equation Y = 2.59 + 36.97e -24.47 X (R 2 = 0.37, p < 0.05). The relationship between MRT and seed size is expressed as the equation Y = 12.48 + 37.44e -0.07 X (R 2 = 0.37, p < 0.05). The relationship between MRT and seed shape index is expressed as the equation Y = 3.93 + 2055.33X - 21757.99X 2 (R 2 = 0.42, p < 0.05). The results suggested that leguminous seeds in larger, or smaller, or irregular shape were more easily digested and excreted by sheep. After digested by sheep gut, germination percentages of recovered seeds of Caragana pleiophylla (35.17%) was significantly decreased (p < 0.05) compared with that of seeds before ingested (96.22%). Similarly, seed germination percentages of Trifolium lupinaster and Astragalus alopecurus seeds were decreased than those of no ingested seeds (not significantly, p > 0.05), but the germination percentages of other twelve kinds seeds were significantly increased (p < 0.05).

    Estimating whole-tree water use of Picea crassifolia based on heat ratio method
    YANG Jun-Jun, FENG Jian-Min, HE Zhi-Bin
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  195-201.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0082
    Abstract ( 323 )   HTML ( 7 )   PDF (958KB) ( 717 )   Save
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    Aims Accurate estimation of forest transpiration in the upper reach of the watershed is vital to the management of water resources in arid region. The objective of this study was to provide a systematic method for calculating the forest evapotranspiration at different scales.

    Methods In this study we measured the whole-tree transpiration using the heat ratio method technology and estimated the stand- and catchment-transpiration employing the upscaling methods.

    Important findings The main results and conclusions were as follows: First, the diameter at breast height (DBH) exhibited significant correlations with sapwood area, and the correlation was characterized by the exponential function (R2=0.94,p<0.001).Second, in the weighted calculation of sap-flux measurements based on two-point thermocouples and sapwood area of Picea crassifolia,the correction coefficient between the true value and the observation value was 1.09. Third, when calculating sap-fluxes based on the average-sap-flux and total sapwood area of stand-transpiration, ignoring sap-flux velocity heterogeneities of trees led to transpiration rates being overestimated or underestimated by nearly one third; Fourth, the stand-transpiration estimation method based on the relationship between DBH and sap-flux can give a more reasonable prediction ofPicea crassifolia transpiration. The results indicated that the probe-based sap-flux measuring technology would perform well for the transpiration scaling-up calculation at the catchment with only one single tree species, and the calculation methodology can be applied to other watersheds.

    Effects of leaf shape plasticity on leaf surface temperature
    LI Yong-Hua, LI Zhen, XIN Zhi-Ming, LIU Ming-Hu, LI Yan-Li, HAO Yu-Guang
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  202-208.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0127
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    Aims The shape plasticity of plant leaves is an important survival strategy to high temperature and drought in arid region, yet reliable evidences are insufficient to validate the fundamental concepts. Our objective was to demonstrate the specific effects of leaf morphology on leaf surface temperature.

    Methods Infrared thermal images were processed to determine the leaf temperature and shape parameters of simulated and actual leaf shape. Microclimatic conditions were recorded using a automatic weather station near the sampling plot, including wind speed, radiation and air temperature.

    Important findings Under the drought and high temperature, the plasticity of leaf shape appeared an important measure to regulate leaf temperature, except leaf transpiration. The exchange rates of matter and energy between leaves and the environment were enhanced by smaller leaves that effectively decreased leaf temperature. With low wind speed and high temperature, leaf surface temperature decreased 2.1 °C per 1 cm reduction in leaf width. However, leaf surface temperature of a simulated leaf decreased 0.60-0.86 °C per 1 cm reduction in leaf width. Results from this study will help us to understand plant adaptability and survival strategy in arid region.

    Specific leaf area estimation model building based on leaf dry matter content of Cunninghamia lanceolata
    PENG Xi, YAN Wen-De, WANG Feng-Qi, WANG Guang-Jun, YU Fang-Yong, ZHAO Mei-Fang
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  209-219.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0132
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    Aims With progresses of leaf functional traits study, there is an increasing demand to explore the life history strategy and trade-offs in plants, as well as estimate stand productivity, by employing easy and simple leaf parameters. For instance, the interconversion between leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and specific leaf area (SLA) just fit the bill. Cunninghamia lanceolata serves as one of the most important afforestation evergreen needle species in subtropical zone. Building the SLA estimation model based on LDMC could provide a new approach to estimate SLA, and establish a connection path between mechanism explanation and productivity evaluation. Moreover, it could also build a bridge between individual level and large-scale, as well as between actuarial and estimation.

    Methods Leaf samples were collected from two sampling sites located in C. lanceolata growing region: Huitong County of Hunan Province and Xinyang City of Henan Province. The samples covered fundamentally different niches (aspect, slope position, and canopy depth), and different life history (stand age and leaf age). SLA and LDMC were determined along leaf age gradients, and their value distributions in linkage to different factors were discussed. A general model based on LDMC of C. lanceolata was built to estimate SLA, and the impact of leaf age on the model was explored.

    Important findings The SLA of C. lanceolata was (103.15 ± 69.54) cm 2·g -1, while LDMC was 0.39 ± 0.11. The LDMC and SLA of C. lanceolata can be estimated by nonlinear model (R 2 = 0.718β4, p < 0.001), which meets the estimation requirements. One-year-old leaves showed the best fitting model (R 2 = 0.889, p < 0.001), while old leaves (more than 2-year-old) showed the worst (R 2 = 0.100β1, p < 0.001). Old leaves with a lower SLA (52.28-75.74 cm 2·g -1) might imply the relative independence among the variation of LDMC. The model based on LDMC to evaluate SLA is credible and effective. The effects on LDMC and SLA along leaf age gradients indicate leaf sensitivity, life history strategies and trade-offs.

    Changes in hydraulic traits of nine vascular plants from different evolutionary lineages
    ZHAOLe-Wen, CHEN Zi-Yi, ZOU Ying, FU Zi-Zhao, WU Gui-Lin, LIU Xiao-Rong, LUO Qi, LIN Yi-Xue, LI Xiong-Ju, LIU Zhi-Tong, LIU Hui
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  220-228.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0258
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    Aims As vascular plants evolve from ferns to gymnosperms and angiosperms, their physiological structures and functions are assumed more adaptable to arid environment. Whether the three plant groups from early to late evolved lineages have improved their water transport and use efficiency has been studied on the basis of the morphological structure of leaf veins and stomata.Moreover, the water transportation rate was directly measured in the angiosperms. Therefore, we measured structural and functional traits related to water relations in all three plant groups simultaneously, to test the hypothesis on the evolutionary process of plant hydraulics.

    Methods We selected three species in each group grown in South China Botanical Garden, Guangzhou, China, including ferns (Dicranopteris pedata, Cyclosorus parasiticus and Blechnum orientale), gymnosperms (Podocarpus macrophyllus, Podocarpus nagi and Taxodium distichum) and angiosperms (Manglietia fordiana var. hainanensis, Sindora tonkinensis and Bauhinia purpurea).

    Important findings Sapwood and leaf specific hydraulic conductivities (KS and KL, respectively), and leaf conductance (Kleaf) significantly increased from ferns, gymnosperms to angiosperms. However, no significant trends were found in transpiration rate (E) and intrinsic water use efficiency. Meanwhile, neither the size and density of stomata nor wood density showed significant difference among three plant groups. The hydraulic functional traits (KS, KL and Kleaf) had significantly positive correlations with each other, but had no relationships with the two measured structural traits. Phylogenetic independent contrasts analyses showed that the coordination between KS and Kleaf, and between KS and E were independent of the phylogeny. Based on the nine vascular species, this study demonstrated that water transport related traits are improved as vascular plants evolved, and the co-evolution between water transport and transpiration traits were identified. For further study, it is necessary to consolidate our data with investigations of more detailed water-transport structures in more species from different evolutionary lineages.

    Effect of Pb pollution on the growth, biomass allocation and photosynthesis of Phragmites australis in flood and drought environment
    ZHANG Na, ZHU Yang-Chun, LI Zhi-Qiang, LU Xin, FAN Ru-Qin, LIU Li-ZhuTONG , Fei, CHEN Jing, MU Chun-Sheng, ZHANG Zhen-Hua
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  229-239.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0218
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    Aims Reed (Phragmites australis) is a typical perennial rhizomatic plant with extensive tolerance to environmental stress. In order to better understand the adaptation and tolerance of reeds subjected to heavy metal pollution in different levels of water, we conducted a study on the effects of Pb pollution on growth, biomass and photosynthesis of reeds in flood and drought environment. This research would provide theoretical basis for application of reeds in wetland restoration and remediation.

    Methods We conducted a pot experiment with destructive sampling after 90 days of growth. The water treatments were main plot, including two water levels. The Pb treatments were secondary plot (nested within water treatments), including five levels (0, 500, 1 500, 3 000, 4 500 mg·kg-1). There were 10 treatments with 12 replicates per treatment.

    Important findings In the flood environment, Pb pollution significantly inhibited the growth of buds and rhizomes, but had no significant effect on the number of offspring shoots. The offspring shoots had higher growth rate per day, net photosynthetic rate and biomass compared to the parent shoots. In the drought environment, Pb pollution inhibited the growth of roots, buds and rhizomes, and biomass accumulation of parent and offspring shoots as well as photosynthetic parameters. These parameters were lower under the drought condition than in the flood environment. The Pb was mostly concentrated in roots compared to rhizomes and offspring shoots. In both flood and drought environments, the concentration of Pb in parent shoots was about three times of that in offspring shoots. The Pb concentration in offspring shoots under the flood condition was less than that in the drought environment. Overall, these results indicated that the synergistic effect of Pb and drought significantly inhibited the growth, biomass accumulation and photosynthesis of reeds, which might result in reduced offspring productivity and population density and may lead to population decline. However, the flooded reeds could adopt some strategies of Pb allocation to alleviate the negative effect of Pb on the growth, physiology and clonal propagation, benefiting the population reproduction and stabilization.

    Effects of drought stress on the osmotic adjustment and active oxygen metabolism of Phoebe zhennan seedlings and its alleviation by nitrogen application
    Xi WANG,Hong-Ling HU,Ting-Xing HU,Cheng-Hao ZHANG,Xin WANG,Dan LIU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  240-251.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0225
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    Aims Two-year-old seedlings of Phoebe zhennan were used in this study to explore the responses of osmotic adjustment and active oxygen metabolism to drought stress and the mitigation effect of nitrogen application.

    Methods The soil water content was firstly adjusted to four treatment levels, i.e. 80% of field water holding capacity (80% FC), 50% FC, 30% FC and 15% FC, respectively. The physiological variables of plants were measured after one week, and then three nitrogen application rates, control (N0), medium nitrogen (MN) and high nitrogen (HN) were performed at an interval of 7 days for four times (7 d, 14 d, 21 d and 28 d, respectively). The same physiological variables were determined again one month after the accomplishment of nitrogen application.

    Important findings 1) The free proline (Pro) and soluble sugar (SS) contents in the leaves increased significantly with the aggravation of drought stress after 7 days of drought, but the content of soluble protein (SP) was firstly increased and then declined. The increase of Pro content was especially obvious under severe drought (15% FC). After nitrogen application, the content of Pro raise further, but the values varied in drought treatment. The SS contents under sufficient water supply (80% FC) and mild drought (50% FC) were decreased by MN, but it did not change significantly when supplied with HN despite the soil water content. After nitrogen application, the SP contents under 80% FC and 50% FC were lower than those of no exogenous N, while they were opposite response under 30% FC and 15% FC. 2) Before nitrogen application, with the aggravation of drought stress, the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, catalase (CAT) activity increased significantly, and the peroxidase (POD) activity showed an up-down trend. After nitrogen application, the content of H2O2 was generally deceased at each water condition, with the maximum decrease at MN, while the HN treatment was not conducive to reduce the content of H2O2. The activities of three kinds of enzymes responded differently to the severity of drought and the level of nitrogen application. 3) Before nitrogen application, the content of malondialdehyde (MDA) in leaves increased significantly when the soil water content declined to and below 50% FC. The relative electrical conductivity (REC) was decreased at first, and followed by significant increase. Except severe drought (15% FC) stress, the MDA content showed a decreasing trend at MN, but a rebound at HN. As regards severe drought stress, however, the content of MDA increased at both MN and HN, indicating that nitrogen application is not a good choice to alleviate the damage caused by severe drought stress. 4)Two-factor ANOVA revealed an obvious interaction between nitrogen application and drought stress. In conclusion, a proper amount of nitrogen (1.35 g·a -1 for each sapling) could somewhat alleviate drought stress no severer than 15% FC on seedlings of Phoebe zhennan, but excessive nitrogen at rate of or more than 2.70 g·a -1 per sapling is not recommended.

    Eco-geographical distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Hedysarum scoparium in the desert zone of northwestern China
    LIU Hai-Yue, LI Xin-Mei, ZHANG Lin-Lin, WANG Jiao-Jiao, HE Xue-Li
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2018, 42 (2):  252-260.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0138
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    Aims To understand the ecological significance of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi associated with Hedysarum scoparium in semi-arid and arid lands, species diversity and ecological distribution of AM fungi associated with Hedysarum scoparium were elucidated in a desert ecosystem of northwestern China.

    Methods Soil samples (0–30 cm depth) under Hedysarum scopariumis were collected at seven different sites (Ordos, Wuhai, Dengkou, Alxa, Shapotou, Minqin, Anxi) in northwest China in July 2015. Based on the morphological characteristics of spores, AM fungi were identified, and redundancy analysis (RDA) was used to distinguish among different groups. Furthermore, the relationship between species diversity of AM fungi and soil factors were evaluated by Pearson’s correlation analysis.

    Important findings A total of 42 AM fungal species belonging to six genera were isolated. Among these, 16 species belong to Glomus,17 to Acaulospora four to Claroideoglomus,two to Septoglomus,two to Funneliformis and one to Scutellospora.The abundance, spore density and Shannon-Wiener index of AM fungi decreased gradually along the aridity gradient from east to west. Spore density of AM fungi of different species in the same site were different, and those of the same species in different sites were also different. Soil organic matter, pH,ammonia, and available phosphorus had significant effects on AM fungi. The results showed that the species diversity and distribution of AM fungi have obvious spatial patterns, and were influenced by soil factors, among which soil moisture was the most significant factor.

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