Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (11): 979-987.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0149

Special Issue: 植物功能性状

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Variations of leaf construction cost and leaf traits within the species of Artemisia ordosica along a precipitation gradient in the Mau Us sandy land

ZHANG Zhi-Guo1,WEI Hai-Xia1,2,3,*()   

  1. 1Department of Tourism and Resource Environment, Zaozhuang University, Zaozhuang, Shandong 277160, China
    2Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology and Biodiversity, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3Institute of Desertification Studies, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
  • Received:2019-06-18 Accepted:2019-11-15 Online:2019-11-20 Published:2020-03-26
  • Contact: WEI Hai-Xia
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41301047);the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation(2014M561076)


Aims There would be a trade-off between enhancing water use efficiency and decreasing leaf construction cost in arid plants. We hypothesized that plants in lower precipitation areas could have higher water use efficiency at a given leaf construction cost compared to plants in higher precipitation areas by altering relationships between leaf functional traits (i.e. increasing area-based leaf nitrogen concentration, Narea).Methods Artemisia ordosica is a widespread species in the Mau Us sandy land. Variations of leaf construction cost of A. ordosica along a precipitation gradient and its relationships to other leaf traits such as specific leaf area (SLA), mass-based leaf nitrogen concentration (Nmass), Narea and leaf stable carbon isotopes ratio (δ 13C) value were analyzed.Important findings There were no significant differences in mass-based leaf construction cost (CCm) among different precipitation areas. Although area-based leaf construction cost (CCa) showed significant differences among different precipitation areas, they did not increase significantly with decreasing precipitation. The relationship between CCm and SLA was not significant while CCm positively correlated with leaf δ 13C value. There was a strategy shift in the positive relationship of leaf construction cost to Narea between plant-groups in the lowest precipitation (264 mm) areas and other higher precipitation (310-370 mm) areas, i.e. plants from low precipitation areas have higher Narea at a given leaf construction cost. Our results indicated that although high water use efficiency was accompanied by high leaf construction cost, the high Narea for plants from lower precipitation areas did not increase their leaf construction cost.

Key words: Mau Us sandy land, Artemisia ordosica, rainfall gradient, leaf construction cost, strategy shift