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Table of Content
    Volume 40 Issue 9
    10 September 2016

    The false color images of Fv/Fm across leaf section after photoinhibition. upper left, free-hand section showing the thickness of leaf; upper right, 0 h; lower left, 1 h; lower right, 3 h. Fan et al. set up a device to acquire the photosystem II maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) images within leaves. Based on the innovative technique, an investigation of the effects of strong light on the

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    Research Articles
    Scale-dependent spatial patterns of species diversity in the tropical montane rain forest in Jianfengling, Hainan Island, China
    Yan-Peng LI, Han XU, Yi-De LI, Tu-Shou LUO, De-Xiang CHEN, Zhang ZHOU, Ming-Xian LIN, Huai YANG
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  861-870.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0400
    Abstract ( 1072 )   Full Text ( 113 )   PDF (1546KB) ( 1869 )   Save
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    Aims Spatial distribution patterns and formation mechanisms of species diversity are fundamental issues in community ecology. The objectives of this study are to assess the species diversity patterns at the different spatial scales in Jianfengling, Hainan Island, China.
    Methods Based on the dataset from the 60 hm2 plot in the tropical montane rain forest in Jianfengling, Hainan Island, the spatial distribution patterns of species richness, species abundance, Shannon-Wiener, Simpson and Pielou’s evenness indices were analyzed at six spatial scales, including 5 m × 5 m, 10 m × 10 m, 20 m × 20 m, 40 m × 40 m, 100 m × 100 m, and 200 m × 200 m, respectively.Important findings
    Results showed that spatial distribution patterns of species richness, species abundance and Shannon-Wiener index were much more obviously changed with the spatial scales than Simpson and Pielou’s evenness indices. Change of variance of the species richness with the increase of spatial scales was unimodal, which had the maximum value at the 20 m × 20 m scale. Variance of the species abundance showed a linear relationship with the increase of spatial scales. The positive relationship between species richness and abundance gradually decreased and even disappeared with the increase of sampling scales, which may be correlated with the increase of habitat heterogeneity. The effects of spatial scales on Shannon-Wiener, Simpson, and Pielou’s evenness indices may be also correlated with the composition of rare species in the plot.

    Responses in allometric growth of two dominant species of subalpine meadow—Arundinella anomala and Miscanthus sinensis—to climate warming in Wugongshan Mountains, China
    Xiao-Hong LI, Jian-Cheng XU, Yi-An XIAO, Wen-Hai HU, Yu-Song CAO
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  871-882.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0117
    Abstract ( 975 )   Full Text ( 112 )   PDF (1161KB) ( 1623 )   Save
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    AimsArundinella anomala and Miscanthus sinensis are dominant species in the subalpine meadow of Wugongshan Mountains. Here we studied the effects of climate warming on allometric relationships among different growth components in the two species through simulated warming in natural habitat.
    Methods The warming experiments were conducted with open-top chambers (OTCs) in natural habitat in a subalpine meadow community of Wugongshan Mountains. The two main Gramineae species, Arundinella anomala and Miscanthus sinensis, were selected as the study materials. Two sizes of OTCs were set up to create contrasting levels of warming (i.e. TD for low warming and TG for high warming). The morphological variables, such as the plant height and the basal diameter of shoots, were measured. Allometric analysis was conducted with the Smart Package in R software.
    Important findings Significant or highly significant correlations and significant allometric relationships were found between and among growth components in both species. The allometry of the growth in most morphological features was strengthened and modified by simulated warming. Stem diameter and plant height, and spike length in A. anomala and M. sinensis changed from isometric to allometric following warming. The relationship The synchronized growth between stem diameter and spikelet in A. anomala was weakened, but their allometry was enhanced with increased warming. The allometric relationship between plant height and leaf length in A. anomala transformed into isometric growth, but it was in reversed pattern in M. sinensis. Warming promoted the plant height and leaf sheath length in A. anomala, whilst higher warming changed the growth relationship between plant height and leaf sheath length in M. sinensis. Similar allometric relationships among the leaf traits were observed, but warming did not significantly impact their allometric exponents. The results suggested that climate warming could have varied effects on different plants, and the differences are often related to the adaptability of plants.

    Leaf decomposition and nutrient release of dominant species in the forest and lake in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve, China
    Bo XU, Zhong-Fu ZHU, Jin-Yang LI, Yan WU, Gui-Ping DENG, Ning WU, Fu-Sun SHI
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  883-892.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0040
    Abstract ( 1242 )   Full Text ( 61 )   PDF (582KB) ( 1949 )   Save
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    AimsLitter decomposition is an important ecological process in nutrient cycling and productivity of ecosystems. Our objective is to quantify the differences of litter decomposition and nutrient release (N and P) under the forest and in an alpine lake among the dominant tree species in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve.
    Methods Fresh leaf litters of Abies ernestii, Pinus tabulaeformis, Betula albo-sinensis, and Salix cupularis were collected and placed in bags under the forest and in an alpine lake for a year.
    Important findings The mass remaining ratio (MR) of the leaf litters was well predicted with Olson’s decay model (r > 0.93, p < 0.01). The time for 99% decomposition was the shortest for S. cupularis (6.80 a), followed by B. albo-sinensis (10.34 a), A. ernestii (18.88 a), and P. tabulaeformis (27.21 a). These values were 1.48-, 1.55-, 1.80-, and 1.65-folds of the corresponding values in the lake, respectively. Both MR and nitrogen remaining ratio (NR) had significantly negative correlations with the leaf initial N concentration, but significantly positive correlations with the initial C:N. The nutrient release was significantly different among the four species and between the two sites (i.e., forest and alpine lake). The N release of S. cupularis was consistent between forest and the lake (i.e. directly released in the beginning of decomposition), while other species had an obvious N enrichment process before it released. The release of P among was similar among the four species and between the two sites, with a release—enrichment—release pattern. Overall, the leaf litter decomposition appeared as an intricate process that was affected by the litter chemistry and and the environment. The fast litter decomposition in the lake may have a profound influence on the water quanlity in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve.

    Effects of streams on lignin degradation during foliar litter decomposition in an alpine forest
    Kai YUE, Wan-Qin YANG, Yan PENG, Chun-Ping HUANG, Chuan ZHANG, Fu-Zhong WU
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  893-901.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0163
    Abstract ( 843 )   Full Text ( 45 )   PDF (740KB) ( 1261 )   Save
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    AimsStreams are widely distributed in alpine forests, and litter decomposition in which is an important component of material cycling across the forest landscape. The leaching and fragmenting effects as well as the unique environmental factors in streams may have significant impacts on lignin degradation during litter decomposition, but studies on this are lacking.
    Methods Using litterbag methods, we investigated the dynamics of lignin mass remaining and concentration (percent litter mass, %) during the decomposition of four foliar litters, which varied significantly in the initial litter chemical traits, from the dominant species of Salix paraplesia, Rhododendron lapponicum, Sabina saltuaria, and Larix mastersiana under different habitats (forest floor, stream, and riparian zone) in the upper reaches of the Minjiang River.
    Important findings After two year’s incubation, litter lignin mass remaining for a specific litter species varied significantly (p < 0.05) among habitats, with an order of stream < riparian zone < forest floor. Lignin was degraded substantially in the early stage of litter decomposition process, and the lignin concentration first decreased and then increased with the proceeding of litter decomposition, but varied significantly (p < 0.05) among different litter species. Lignin mass showed a general trend of decrease across the 2-year decomposition course. In addition, habitat type, decomposition period and microenvironmental factors (e.g., temperature, pH value and nutrient availability) showed substantial influences on lignin degradation rate. These results suggest that the traditional view that lignin was relatively recalcitrant with an increase of concentration in the early stage of litter decomposition is challenged, but the loss of lignin in the early phrase is in line with recent findings about the fate of lignin during litter decomposition. Moreover, the significant differences of lignin degradation rates among different decomposition period and habitat types indicated that local-scale environmental factors can play a significant role in litter decomposition and lignin degradation processes.

    Characteristics of methane emission fluxes in the Zoigê Plateau wetland on microtopography
    Wen-Chang ZHOU, Li-Juan CUI, Yi-Fei WANG, Wei LI, Xiao-Ming KANG
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  902-911.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0029
    Abstract ( 923 )   Full Text ( 94 )   PDF (1185KB) ( 1795 )   Save
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    AimsThe Zoigê Plateau, as a very important wetland distribution region of China, was the major methane (CH4) emission center of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. The objective of this study is to study the effects of microtopographic changes on CH4 emission fluxes from five plots across three marshes in the littoral zone of the Zoigê Plateau wetland.
    Methods CH4 emission fluxes were measured in five plots across three marshes in Zoigê Plateau wetland using the closed chamber method and Fast Greenhouse Gas Analyzer from May to October in 2014.
    Important findings During the growing season, mean CH4 emission fluxes from the permanently flooded hollow (P-hollow) and hummock (P-hummock) in the Zoigê Plateau wetland were 68.48 and 40.32 mg·m-2·h-1, while mean CH4 emission fluxes from the seasonally flooded hollow (S-hollow) and hummock (S-hummock) were 2.38 and 0.63 mg·m-2·h-1. CH4 emission fluxes from non-flooded lawn was 3.68 mg·m-2·h-1. Mean CH4 emission fluxes from five plots across three sites was 23.10 mg·m-2·h-1, with a standard deviation of 30.28 mg·m-2·h-1 and the coefficient of variation was 131%. We also found that there was a significant and positive correlation between mean CH4 emission fluxes and mean water table depth in the five plots across three sites (R2 = 0.919, p < 0.01), indicating that water table depth was controlling the spatial variability of CH4 emission fluxes from the Zoigê Plateau wetland on microtopography. CH4 emission fluxes in the P-hollow, P-hummock, and S-hummock showed an obvious seasonal pattern, which was not observed in the lawn and S-hollow. However, CH4 emission peaks were observed in all the plots during summer and/or autumn, which could be closely related to the water table depth, soil temperature, and the magnitude of litter mass. In addition, we found that the CH4 emission flux in the P-hollow was much higher than the other four plots in the Zoigê Plateau wetland, suggesting that CH4 in the P-hollow could be often transported to the surface by ebullition and CH4 emission from the Zoigê Plateau wetland may be under estimated in the past.

    Leaf water δD and δ18O enrichment process and influencing factors in spring maize (Zea mays) grown in the middle reaches of Heihe River Basin
    Xiao-Ting WANG, Xue-Fa WEN
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  912-924.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0431
    Abstract ( 884 )   Full Text ( 93 )   PDF (1211KB) ( 1433 )   Save
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    Aims The stable isotope fractionation of plant water is an important part for the water cycle in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. There is a lack of control mechanisms research of leaf water isotope ratio (δl,b) enrichment based on the field conditions. Because it is tough to get the measured 18O isotope ratio (δ18O l,b) and deuterium (D) isotope ratio (δDl,b) of leaf water (collective name δl,b). Therefore most previous research focuses on model building used the limited number of δl,b. Leaf water δDl,b and δ18O l,b enrichment (collective name Δl,b) is usually represented as the difference of the leaf water isotope ratio (δl,b) and the plant source water isotope ratio (δDx and δ18O x,collective name δx), that is Δl,b = δl,b - δx.
    Methods A field experiment with spring maize (Zea mays) was conducted in the middle reaches of Heihe River Basin to investigate the characteristics of leaf water δ18O and δD enrichment and their abiotic control mechanisms on seasonal and daily scales. Leaf and stem samples were collected and analyzed according to different time scales, and the δ18O and δD of atmospheric water vapor (collective name δv) were determined based on the in situ and continuous water vapor isotope ratio measurement system at the same time.
    Important findings The results showed that: δl,b and Δl,b of leaf water varied little during the experimental season while largely at daily scale, which enrichment was found at the daytime but depletion at night. Atmospheric water vapor isotope ratio (δv) and relative humidity were main factors to D on both seasonal and daily scales; for 18O, only relative humidity was the key control factor on both seasonal and daily scales. Differences of D and 18O came from the equilibrium fractionation because equilibrium fractionation factor for D was over 8 times than for 18O. The analysis of these differences help us distinguish the environmental factors of leaf water enrichment for D (ΔDl,b) from leaf water enrichment for 18O (Δ18Ol,b), and improve our understanding of leaf water enrichment process and develop the related models as well.

    Effect of different species of endophytes on fungal disease resistance of Achnatherum sibiricum
    Yi NIU, Yuan GAO, Ge-Ping LI, An-Zhi REN, Yu-Bao GAO
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  925-932.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0417
    Abstract ( 1016 )   Full Text ( 99 )   PDF (857KB) ( 1276 )   Save
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    AimsAchnatherum sibiricum, a native grass species, is widely distributed in the steppe of Nei Mongol, China. In this study, three endophytic fungi, i.e., Neotyphodium sibiricum, N. gansuensis and Epichloë gansuensis, were isolated from A. sibiricum and examined the effect of the endophytes on the resistance of A. sibiricum to fungal disease.
    Methods Three fungi: Curvularia lunata, Bipolaris sorokiniana and Cladosporium sp. were chosen as the target pathogens. Three experiments were carried out to evaluate the effects of endophytic inoculation of A. sibiricum on its pathogen resistance: 1) endophye in vitro, 2) inoculated detached leaves and 3) intact plants. They were infected with the three pathogens above mentioned, separately. Seven days later, inhibition rates, the number of lesions, lesion length and concentration of spores were measured.
    Important findings The results showed that all endophytes significantly reduced the growth of pathogens fungi in vitro, and N. sibiricums had the strongest effect: its bacteriostasis rate to Curvularia lunata, B. sorokiniana and Cladosporium sp. were 47.8%, 40.1% and 39.4%, respectively. Culture filtration of three endophytes also effectively reduced pathogen spore germination, in which N. gansuensis showed the strongest impact. The germination rates of Curvularia lunata, B. sorokiniana and Cladosporium sp. were only 9.8%, 8.7% and 8.5%, respectively. Neotyphodium sibiricum and N. gansuensis could reduce lesion number and spore concentration of detached host leaves after the pathogens inoculation. Epichloë gansuensis reduced lesion number of detached leaves after inoculation with Curvularia lunata and Cladosporium sp., and decreased spore concentration of the pathogens fungi of Cladosporium sp. In the intact leaves, three endophytes reduced lesion number, lesion length and spore concentration as well after inoculation of the pathogens with those infected with N. sibiricum showing the strongest resistance, while with Epichloë gansuensis, the weakest resistance.

    Response of growth and inorganic carbon utilization to different light and CO2 levels in Chlorella pyrenoidosa
    Jia SHEN, Ya-He LI, Lin ZHANG, Xue SUN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (9):  933-941.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0261
    Abstract ( 2017 )   Full Text ( 87 )   PDF (467KB) ( 1749 )   Save
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    AimsCarbon concentrating mechanism (CCM) is one of the important contents in algal physiology and ecology. Numerous studies have been carried out in eukaryotic and prokaryotic algae, but the information on economic microalga Chlorella pyrenoidosa (Chlorophyta) is limited. Our purpose is to explore the composite effect of light and CO2 on growth, inorganic carbon utilization in C. pyrenoidosa, and enrich the data on CCM in green algae.
    Methods Two light intensities (40 and 120 µmol photons•m-2•s-1) and two CO2 concentrations (0.04% and 0.16%) were combined into four treatments, and then the algal growth, inorganic carbon concentration, pH compensation point, photosynthetic oxygen evolution rate, carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity and α-CA gene expression were investigated.
    Important findings Chlorella pyrenoidosa grew fastest under the high-light and high-CO2 condition. The total inorganic carbon concentration under low-light and high-CO2 group was 1163.3 µmol·L-1, which was significantly higher than that of other three groups. The alga had the maximal pH compensation point of 9.8 under the high-light and low-CO2 condition, and the minimal pH compensation point of 8.6 under the low-light and high-CO2 condition. The maximum photosynthetic rate (Vmax) and inorganic carbon concentration in half maximum photosynthetic rate (K0.5) in the low-light and high-CO2 group were the highest, which were 1.28-1.91 times and 1.61-2.00 times of that in other three groups, respectively. The highest activity of extracellular CA was detected in the high-light and lower-CO2 group. However, α-CA gene expression reached the maximum under the low-light and low-CO2 condition. The results indicated that the low CO2 level could increase the algal pH compensation point, photosynthetic inorganic carbon affinity, and induce the external CA activity and α-CA gene expression in C. pyrenoidosa. HCO3- was used as the primary inorganic carbon source, and the inorganic carbon utilization was also regulated by light in C. pyrenoidosa.

    Method and Technology
    A new technology of modulated Chl a fluorescence image: In vivo measurement of the PSII maximum photochemical efficiency and its heterogeneity within leaves
    Da-Yong FAN, Zeng-Juan FU, Zong-Qiang XIE, Rong-Gui LI, Shu-Min ZHANG
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  942-951.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0001
    Abstract ( 1841 )   Full Text ( 49 )   PDF (1590KB) ( 1782 )   Save
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    The spatial photosynthetic heterogeneity within leaves is an important prerequisite for the studies on the photosynthetic model, the mechanism(s) of photoinhibition and light protection, etc. However, currently the in vivo measurement of the spatial photosynthetic heterogeneity within leaves is difficult. The present study improved the device assembled by Vogelmann & Evans (2002), thereby acquired the photosystem II (PSII) maximum photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) images within leaves. Finally, these images were processed and data of Fv/Fm and its spatial variations could be obtained, with the aid of MATLAB software. Based on the innovative technique, an investigation of the effects of strong light on the Fv/Fm and its spatial heterogeneity within leaves has been carried out. It was found that Fv/Fm within leaves was not homogonous. Strong light led to a general decrease of Fv/Fm (PSII photoinhibition) across leaf section, and the palisade tissue close to the epidermis layer had high tolerance to photoinhibition. Compared with control, short-term photoinhibition caused a larger spatial variation of Fv/Fm within leaves, which may be related to the chloroplast-avoidance response induced by high-fluence. On the contrary, long-term light inhibition led to a smaller spatial variation of Fv/Fm within leaves, indicating such mechanism is no longer effective. Compared to other types of chlorophyll fluoremeter, the device in the present study can in vivo obtain the panoramic picture of Fv/Fm within leaves, providing a powerful tool for the studies on the mechanism(s) attributed to the spatial heterogeneity of photosynthetic capacity of leaf, which is critical for the understanding on several hot spots in the research field of photosynthesis.

    Data Paper
    Characteristics of plant communities containing rare conifers in Poyang Lake Basin, China
    Quan FANG, Yi-Zhen LIU, Gang GE
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2016, 40 (9):  952-957.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0454
    Abstract ( 1249 )   Full Text ( 125 )   PDF (874KB) ( 1319 )   Save
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    The endangerment mechanism of rare conifer species is a very critical problem in conservation biodiversity. Thus, the studies on the protection of the rare and endangered coniferous trees have received extensive attention. The objective of this study was to understand the survival and distribution of the rare coniferous tree species in natural forests of the Poyang Lake Basin. Field investigations on plant communities were conducted in 21 plots from Oct. 2014 to Oct. 2015. These plots were distributed in the Nanling Mountains, Luoxiao Mountains, Wuyi Mountains, Huangshan Mountains, and Jiuling Mountain. The dimensions of each plot were 20 m × 20 m. Community species composition and quantitative characteristics in each plot were recorded. The importance values of trees, shrubs and herbs were computed, respectively. The community types and structural properties were analyzed. A total of 23 sets of community sampling data were obtained in details. A number of 11 species of rare conifers were found in 14 different formations. Rare conifer trees mainly occurred in the communities as co-edificatos or companion species. The formations included Form. Taxus wallichiana var. mairei, Form. Pseudotsuga sinensis, Form. Fokienia hodginsii and Form. Torreya grandis, where the dominant species was coniferous trees. In conclusion, our study provides valuable field investigation data of rare coniferous in Poyang Lake basin, which could provide insight into the protection and management of these species.

    The relationship between the reduction of nonstructural carbohydrate induced by defoliator and the growth and mortality of trees
    Zhi-Cheng CHEN, Xian-Chong WAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (9):  958-968.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0443
    Abstract ( 1054 )   Full Text ( 108 )   PDF (391KB) ( 2156 )   Save
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    Large scale herbivorous insect outbreaks can cause death of regional forests, and the events are expected to be exacerbated with climate change. Mortality of forest and woodland plants would cause a series of serious consequences, such as decrease in vegetation production, shifts in ecosystem structure and function, and transformation of forest function from a net carbon sink into a net carbon source. There is thus a need to better understand the impact of insects on trees. Defoliation by insect pests mainly reduces photosynthesis (source decrease) and increases carbon consumption (sink increase), and hence causes reduction of nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC). When the reduction in NSC reaches to a certain level, trees would die of carbon starvation. External environment and internal compensatory mechanisms can also positively or negatively influence the process of tree death. At present, the research of carbon starvation is a hotspot because the increase of tree mortality globally with climate change, and carbon starvation is considered as one of the dominating physiological mechanisms for explaining tree death. In this study, we reviewed the definition of carbon starvation, and the relationships between the reduction of NSC induced by defoliation and the growth and death of trees, and the relationships among insect outbreaks, leaf loss and climate change. We also presented the potential directions of future studies on insect-caused defoliation and tree mortality.

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