Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2008, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (4): 848-857.DOI: 10.3773/j.issn.1005-264x.2008.04.013

Special Issue: 稳定同位素生态学

• Original article • Previous Articles     Next Articles


MA Jian-Ying1,2,3(), FANG Xiang-Wen3, XIA Dun-Sheng1, DUAN Zheng-Hu1, CHEN Fa-Hu2,*(), WANG Gang3   

  1. 1Dunhuang Gobi and Desert Ecology and Environment Research Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
    2Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems of Ministry of Education, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    3School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2007-06-11 Accepted:2008-01-08 Online:2008-06-11 Published:2008-07-30
  • Contact: CHEN Fa-Hu


Aims Reaumuria soongoricais a major dominant of desert shrub vegetation in arid regions of China. Our objectives were to investigate correlations between foliar characteristics of this desert plant and meteorological factors and to identify the major factor influencing variations in different environments.

Methods We collected 407 individuals of R. soongorica from 21 natural populations in its major area of distribution in northwestern China and measured the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and leaf water content and stable carbon isotope composition in leaves. Meteorological data, including mean annual precipitation and temperature, evaporation, mean relative humidity and duration of sunshine, were collected from the Cold and Arid Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The relationships between foliar characteristics and meteorological factors were analyzed by simple linear regression and Pearson's correlation.

Important findings Variation of leaf nitrogen content in R. soongorica was due to the complex effect of meteorological factors. Mean relative humidity was the limiting factor that affected leaf potassium content and stable carbon isotope composition. Evaporation and duration of sunshine were the key factors influencing leaf phosphorus content and water content, respectively. The impacts of climate conditions on foliar characteristics of R. soongorica were notable, and the contributions of different meteorological factors to foliar characteristics differed significantly. This pattern of variation in foliar characteristics responded to different meteorological conditions, reflecting the environmental status and the stable extent of desert ecosystems dominated by R. soongorica.

Key words: Reaumuria soongorica, foliar characteristic, meteorological factors, desert ecosystem