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Table of Content
    Volume 41 Issue 10
    10 October 2017

    Fragmented landscape of the Thousand Island Lake (Photographed by YU Ming-Jian). Luo et al. studied the insect herbivory on seedling leaves of common woody species in the Thousand Island Lake region, and then analyzed the interspecific differences of leaf damage by insects and the effects of leaf traits and the relative abundance (Pages 10331040 of this issue). <

    Cover and contents of Vol. 41, No. 10, 2017

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    Research Articles
    Effects of plant traits and the relative abundance of common woody species on seedling herbivory in the Thousand Island Lake region
    Yang-Qing LUO, Mei-Sheng YU, Jing-Jing YU, Shi-Lu ZHENG, Jia-Jia LIU, Ming-Jian YU
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (10):  1033-1040.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0073
    Abstract ( 1511 )   Full Text ( 165 )   PDF (326KB) ( 2584 )   Save
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    Aims Plant-herbivore interaction is a hot topic in the study of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Herbivores can negatively affect seedling growth and therefore can alter the dynamics of plant recruitment. However, previous studies do not fully reveal the relative importance of different plant functional traits on herbivory intensity and rarely link herbivory to the relative abundance of plant species.Methods Here, we measured 11 plant functional traits and the relative abundance of seedlings of 16 common woody species in the subtropical forests on 29 islands in Thousand Island Lake, East China. We then used multivariate regression and variance partitioning to test the contribution of functional traits and the relative abundance to interspecific differences of insect herbivory intensity.Important findings Our study found that both plant functional traits (e.g. carbon nitrogen ratio, leaf thickness) and the relative abundance of woody species played important roles in herbivory intensity, and they jointly contributed 54% of the variance of the interspecific differences. Among these factors, species with higher defensive ability, lower nutrient content and higher relative abundance had lower herbivory intensity. We suggest to consider both individual level traits (functional traits) and community level attributes (the relative abundance) in future herbivory studies.

    Effects of short-term nitrogen addition on fine root biomass, lifespan and morphology of Castanopsis platyacantha in a subtropical secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest
    Guan-Tao CHEN, Yong PENG, Jun ZHENG, Shun LI, Tian-Chi PENG, Xi-Rong QIU, Li-Hua TU
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (10):  1041-1050.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0317
    Abstract ( 1391 )   Full Text ( 129 )   PDF (450KB) ( 2011 )   Save
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    Aims Fine roots are the principal parts for plant nutrients acquisition and play an important role in the underground ecosystem. Increased nitrogen (N) deposition has changed the soil environment and thus has a potential influence on fine roots. The purpose of this study is to reveal the effect of N deposition on biomass, lifespan and morphology of fine root.Methods A field N addition experiment was conducted in a secondary broad-leaved forest in subtropical China from May 2013 to September 2015. Three levels of N treatments: CK (no N added), LN (5 g·m-2·a-1), and HN (15 g·m-2·a-1) were applied monthly. Responses of fine root biomass, lifespan, and morphology of Castanopsis platyacantha to N addition were analyzed by using a minirhizotron image system from April 2014 to September 2015. Surface soil sample (0-10 cm) was collected in November 2014 and soil pH value, and concentrations of NH4+-N and NO3--N were measured.Important findings The biomass and average lifespan of the fine roots of C. platyacantha were 128.30 g·m-3 and 113-186 days, respectively, in 0-45 cm soil layer. Nitrogen addition had no significant effect on either fine root biomass or lifespan in 0-45 cm soil layer. However, LN treatment significantly decreased C. platyacantha root superficial area in 0-15 cm soil layer. HN treatment significantly decreased soil pH value. Our study indicated that short-term N addition influences soil inorganic N concentration and thus decreased pH value in surface soil, and thereafter affect fine root morphology. Short-term N addition, however, did not affect the fine root biomass, lifespan and morphology in subsoil.

    Differential uptakes of different forms of soil nitrogen among major tree species in subalpine coniferous forests of western Sichuan, China
    Ting-Ting ZOU, Zi-Liang ZHANG, Na LI, Yuan-Shuang YUAN, Dong-Hui ZHENG, Qin LIU, Hua-Jun YIN
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (10):  1051-1059.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0165
    Abstract ( 1165 )   Full Text ( 134 )   PDF (531KB) ( 1427 )   Save
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    Aims Although acquisition of soil organic nitrogen (N)(mainly amino acids) by plants is a widespread ecological phenomenon in many terrestrial ecosystems, the rate of organic N uptake and their contributions to plant nutrient supply are poorly understood. Our objective was to determine the relative contributions of inorganic N (NO3-N and NH4+-N) and organic N (amino acids) to plant N uptake in a high-frigid forest ecosystem.Methods The differences in the uptake rate of three different forms of N (NO3-N, NH4+-N and glycine) were quantified by exposing seedlings of two dominant tree species (Picea asperata and Betula albo-sinensis) in subalpine coniferous forests of western Sichuan, China, to trace quantities of K15NO3,15NH4Cl and (U-13C2/15N) glycine.Important findings Both 13C and 15N were significantly enriched in fine roots 2 h after tracer application, indicating the occurrence of glycine uptake in P. asperata and B. albo-sinensis seedlings. The seedlings of two tree species had a significant preference for NO3-N compared with glycine and NH4+-N, and the uptake rate of NO3-N was 5 to 10 times greater than that of glycine and NH4+-N. The roots of seedlings in the two species took up glycine more rapidly than NH4+-N, implying that soil organic N (i.e., amino acids) could be an important N source for the two species in subalpine coniferous forests. The results of this study are of great theoretical significance for understanding N utilization strategies and nutrient regulation processes in plants of the high-frigid forest ecosystems.

    Warming impacts on the dry matter accumulation, and translocation and nitrogen uptake and utilization of winter wheat on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau
    Cheng-Yan ZHENG, Ai-Xing DENG, Hojatollah LATIFMANESH, Zhen-Wei SONG, Jun ZHANG, Li WANG, Wei-Jian ZHANG
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (10):  1060-1068.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0021
    Abstract ( 1101 )   Full Text ( 113 )   PDF (405KB) ( 1563 )   Save
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    Aims Global warming is expected to be the strongest in high altitude mountainous areas, which are more ecologically fragile and economically marginalized. The Qinghai-Xizang Plateau is among such areas most vulnerable to global warming, and more than 80% of its population depends on subsistence agriculture. The aim of this study is to understand the impacts of warming on indigenous crop production, which can help to devise better strategies for crop adaptation and food security in this area.Methods A field warming experiment using a facility of free air temperature increase was conducted to simulate the predicted warming level in Caigongtang town, Lhasa City, China. The experiment consisting of two treatments (warmed and non-warmed) was performed using a completely random design with three replicates. An infrared heater (180 cm in length and 20 cm in width) of 1 500 W was suspended 1.5 m above the ground in each warmed plot. In each non-warmed plot, a ‘dummy’ heater of same dimensions was also suspended to mimic the shading effects. The warming treatment was performed from the sown date to the harvest date. We measured dry matter and nitrogen accumulation, partition and translocation of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) using ‘Shandong 6’ under warming and control treatments.Important findings Results showed that, with 1.1 °C increase in daily mean air temperature during winter wheat growing season, the dry matter accumulation rate at population level from sowing to anthesis stage, grain dry matter partition ratio and contribution of dry matter translocation amount to grain after anthesis were 27.5%, 5.6% and 68.6% higher, respectively, in the warmed plots than those in the non-warmed plots. Meanwhile, warming increased nitrogen accumulation rate at population level of winter wheat. Nitrogen distribution proportions in grain and nitrogen translocation efficiency from vegetative organs to grain after anthesis in the warmed treatment were 6.0% and 5.5% higher than those in the non-warmed treatment, respectively. Compared with non-warmed treatment, warming decreased harvest index by 3.1%, though the difference was not statistically significant. Grain yield, nitrogen uptake efficiency, nitrogen partial factor productivity and nitrogen harvest index were 8.1%, 20.8%, 8.1% and 6.0% higher, respectively, in the warmed plots than those in the non-warmed plots. In conclusion, an increase in daily mean air temperature of about 1.1 °C can enhance plant growth during the pre-anthesis phase by mitigating the low temperature limitation, and accelerate dry matter and nitrogen partition and translocation to the grain after anthesis in winter wheat. These results suggest that warming may benefit winter wheat production through increasing nitrogen use efficiency in high altitude areas.

    Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry in leaves and fine roots of dominant plants in Horqin Sandy Land
    Zhi-Ying NING, Yu-Lin LI, Hong-Ling YANG, Dian-Chao SUN, Jing-Dong BI
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (10):  1069-1080.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0048
    Abstract ( 1947 )   Full Text ( 145 )   PDF (528KB) ( 1838 )   Save
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    Aims The stoichiometric characteristics of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in plant organism is vital to understand plant adaptation to environment. In particular, the correlations of elemental stoichiometric characteristics between leaf and fine root could provide insights into the interaction and balance among the plant elements, nutrient use strategies and plant response to global change.Methods We measured C, N, P contents and C:N, C:P, N:P in leaves and fine roots of 60 dominant plants in Horqin sandy land. The 60 plant species were classified into five life forms and two categories such as perennial forb, annual forb, perennial grass, annual grass, shrub, legume, and non-legume. We statistically analyzed the differences and correlations of C, N and P stoichiometry either between fine root and leaf or among five life forms.Important findings The average C, N and P concentrations in leaves of 60 plant species in Horqin sandy land are 424.20 mg·g-1, 25.60 mg·g-1 and 2.10 mg·g-1, respectively. In fine roots, the corresponding element concentrations are 434.03 mg·g-1, 13.54 mg·g-1, 1.13 mg·g-1. N and P concentrations in leaf are approximately twice as high as averages in fine root. Furthermore, similar N:P between leaf and fine root indicates conservative characteristic of elemental stoichiometry in plant organism, suggesting that nutrients distribution is proportional between aboveground and underground of plants. There are significant difference of C, N, P, C:N, C:P and N:P in leaf and root among five life forms. N and P in forb and C:N and C:P in grass are averagely higher than those in other life forms. N:P in annual forb and grass, however, are lower than those in other life forms. C, N in legume are higher than those in non-legume, while C:N in legume is lower than in non-legume. These results imply that nutrient use strategies are significantly different among plant life forms. Correlations analysis showed that N and P in leaf or fine root positively correlated, but C and N, C and P in fine root negatively correlated, suggesting coupling relationship among C, N and P in leaf and fine root. Subsequently, we detected positively significant correlations in C, N, P and their ratios between leaf and fine root, suggesting proportional distribution of photosynthate and nutrient between aboveground and underground during plant growth. Generally, these results supplied fundamental data to understand mass turnover and nutrients cycling of leaves and roots in sand land.

    Edge effects of forest gap in Pinus massoniana plantations on the ecological stoichiometry of Cinnamomum longepaniculatum
    Si-Meng SONG, Dan-Ju ZHANG, Jian ZHANG, Wan-Qin YANG, Yan ZHANG, Yang ZHOU, Xun LI
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (10):  1081-1090.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0393
    Abstract ( 940 )   Full Text ( 117 )   PDF (472KB) ( 1260 )   Save
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    Aims Pinus massoniana is one of the major plantation tree species in the low hilly lands along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River Valley in China’s “Grain for Green” project. The objective of this study was to explore the edge effects of forest gap on the ecological stoichiometry of dominant tree species in a P. massoniana plantation forest.Methods We collected Cinnamomum longepaniculatum leaves in a 39-year-old P. massoniana plantation forest with seven forest gap sizes (G1: 100 m2; G2: 225 m2; G3: 400 m2; G4: 625 m2; G5: 900 m2; G6: 1 225 m2; G7: 1 600 m2, and the control: closed canopy) located in Gao County, south Sichuan Province during different seasons. The contents of C, N and P in leaves were measured, and the effects of edges, seasons and their interaction on leaf C, N and P contents and C:N:P stoichiometry were evaluated.Important findings The leaf C content, C:N and C:P of C. longepaniculatum at the edge of forest gaps in different seasons were all significantly higher than those of understory plants in P. massoniana plantation. With increasing size of forest gaps, leaf C content and C:N ratio, C:P and N:P of C. longepaniculatum increased initially and then decreased with the maximum at medium size (400-900 m2). From spring to winter, leaf N and P contents of C. longepaniculatum increased after an obvious decrease; and the C:N and C:P increased first but then decreased. However, the inflection point all appeared in the summer. The nutrient utilization of C. longepaniculatum at the edge of forest gaps was more efficient in summer and autumn than in spring and winter, indicating significant edge effects. The results of principal component analysis (PCA) suggested that gap size, relative light intensity and monthly average air temperature were the main environmental factors affecting the stoichiometry of C. longepaniculatum at the different edge of forest gaps in the P. massoniana plantation. These results indicated that forest gap with size 625 m2 had the highest organic matter storage and nutrient utilization efficiency in the edge areas in all seasons, and therefore had the most significant edge effect on leaf element stoichiometry.

    Phenotypic variations in natural populations of Amygdalus pedunculata
    Jiang-Qun LIU, Ming-Yu YIN, Si-Yu ZUO, Shao-Bing YANG, Tana WUYUN
    Chin J Plant Ecol. 2017, 41 (10):  1091-1102.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0104
    Abstract ( 2327 )   Full Text ( 92 )   PDF (499KB) ( 2371 )   Save
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    Aims Our objectives were to determine the phenotypic variations, adaption and distribution patterns in seven natural Amygdalus pedunculata populations.Methods We analyzed 14 phenotypic traits from 120 individuals in seven populations of A. pedunculata by variance analysis, correlation analysis, and cluster analysis.Important findings Results showed that there were plentiful phenotypic variation within and among populations. In particular, the phenotypic variation within population was 40.91%, higher than that among populations (35.29%), which indicated that the phenotypic variation within population was the main source of the phenotypic variation in A. pedunculata. Mean differentiation coefficient was 45.90%, and mean coefficient of variation of 14 traits was 15.59%, ranged from 9.39% to 31.98%. Mean annual temperature, latitude, length of frost-free period, longitude and altitude appear to be prominent ecological factors influencing phenotypic traits. Mean annual temperature and length of frost-free period were key indicators to phenotypic of A. pedunculata in different site conditions. According to principal component analysis and unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic means (UPGMA) cluster analysis, the seven populations of A. pedunculata could be divided into two groups. In mountainous region, A. pedunculata’s leaf blade was usually rotund to oblong, fruit nearly spherical shape with shorter fruit stem, stone was usually ovoid to spherical shape. In contrast, in sandy region, leaf blade was long oval to ovate-lanceolate, fruit and stone was usually flat ovoid with longer fruit stem. Our results provide critical information for the resource collection and breeding of this ecologically important species.

    Effects of monsoon on distribution patterns of tropical plants in Asia
    Chao JIANG, Ke TAN, Ming-Xun REN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (10):  1103-1112.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0070
    Abstract ( 1630 )   Full Text ( 135 )   PDF (404KB) ( 2284 )   Save
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    Comparing with other regions, Asia is mostly dominated by the monsoon climate and tropical plants can be found at the furthest places away from the equator. Understanding the role of monsoon in the dispersal and evolution of tropical plants is helpful for exploring the distribution patterns of vegetation and mechanisms underlying the origin and maintenance of biodiversity in Asia. In summer, there are three types of monsoon in Asia, i.e. East Asia Monsoon, South Asia Monsoon, North-west Pacific Ocean Monsoon. The summer monsoon climate in Asia originated at about 40 Ma, when the early angiosperm evolved and started its diversification in Southeast Asia and South China. It suggested that the monsoon may facilitate the quick speciation and spread of early angiosperm. Monsoon climate facilitates the northward spread of Asia’s tropical plants and some tropical plants can be found even at Yarlung Zangbo River and the boundaries of Guizhou-Guangxi-Yunnan. Such effetcs largely change distribution patterns of zonal vegetation and even causes local vegetation types in some places with unusual topography such as tropical seasonal rainforests, monsoon rainforests, savanna and grassland along dry-hot valley in Southwest China, coastal savanna in West Hainan Island. The three summer monsoons interact at Southwest China and Indo-China Peninsula and these regions are dominated by limestone landscapes and high mountains with big rivers. Some Asia-endemic tropical taxa even formed a diversification and endemism center at this region, which may be a reason for the formation and maintenance of Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspots with global warming, the monsoon may further promote the northward spread of tropical plants and may have fundamental effects on biodiversity and flora evolution in South China.

    New perspectives on forest soil carbon and nitrogen cycling processes: Roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal versus ectomycorrhizal tree species
    Xin-Qi WANG, Chuan-Kuan WANG, Tai-Dong ZHANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2017, 41 (10):  1113-1125.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2017.0116
    Abstract ( 2163 )   Full Text ( 157 )   PDF (362KB) ( 3208 )   Save
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    Nearly all tree species develop symbiotic relationships with either arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) or ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi to acquire nutrients from soils, and hence influence soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles in terrestrial ecosystems. It is crucial to understand the differences in soil C and N cycles between AM and EM forests and the underlying mechanisms. In this review, we first compared the differences in the soil C and N cycles between AM and EM forests, and synthesized the underlying mechanisms from perspectives of the inputs, stabilization, and outputs of soil C and N in forest ecosystems. We also compared the responses of soil C and N cycles between AM and EM forests to global changes. In this field, one major research priority is comparing the structure and function (including the soil C and N cycles) between AM and EM forest ecosystems to provide theoretical basis and solid data for improving forest productivity and ecosystem services. The second research focus is deepening the understanding of the effects of interactions between aboveground litter and belowground mycorrhiza and free-living microbes on soil C and N cycles to reveal the potential underlying mechanisms in forests with different mycorrhizal symbioses. Third, the research methodology and new techniques need refining and applying to explicitly focus on scaling up the fine-scale measurements to better expound and predict the C and N cycles in forest ecosystems. Finally, more studies on the stability of soil organic matter among different mycorrhizal forests are needed to precisely assess responses of the structure and function of forest ecosystems to global changes.

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