Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (8): 871-881.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0028

Special Issue: 青藏高原植物生态学:群落生态学

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Functional diversity rather than species diversity can explain community biomass variation following short-term nitrogen addition in an alpine grassland

DONG Liu-Wen1, REN Zheng-Wei2, ZHANG Rui3, XIE Chen-Di1, ZHOU Xiao-Long1,*()   

  1. 1College of Ecology and Environment, Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology, Ministry of Education, Xinjiang University, Ürümqi 830046, China
    2College of Ecology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3Library of Xinjiang University, Ürümqi 830046, China
  • Received:2022-01-14 Accepted:2022-04-10 Online:2022-08-20 Published:2022-08-20
  • Contact: ZHOU Xiao-Long
  • Supported by:
    Natural Science Foundation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region(2019D01C066);Tianshan Cedar Project in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region(2020XS26);National Natural Science Foundation of China(32060285)


Aims To further understand how community functional diversity drives biomass change following nitrogen (N) addition, a nitrogen addition experiment was conducted in an alpine grassland.

Methods Species composition of community and six functional traits of common species were measured in a short-term N addition experiment in Bayanbulak alpine grassland of Tianshan Mountains. We compared the response patterns of species diversity, functional diversity, and community level traits, and quantified the relative contribution of those factors to community biomass variation.

Important findings Both aboveground and belowground biomass increased following short-term N addition, with higher proportional enhancement of aboveground biomass. N addition reduced functional diversity, but did not affect species diversity. At the community level, height and leaf carbon content increased following N addition, whereas specific leaf area, seed mass, and leaf phosphorus content decreased. The variations of species diversity contributed less to the variations of community biomass change, whereas functional diversity and community level traits explained most of the variation of community biomass. Our results support the mass ratio hypothesis. In conclusion, community level functional traits and functional diversity were sensitive to short-term N addition, and played a key role in driving community biomass.

Key words: aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, functional traits, functional diversity, species diversity, nitrogen addition, Tianshan, alpine grassland