J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (2): 346-357.doi: 10.1093/jpe/rty033

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

C:N:P stoichiometry of Ericaceae species in shrubland biomes across Southern China: influences of climate, soil and species identity

Qiang Zhang1,2, Qing Liu3, Huajun Yin3, Chunzhang Zhao3, Lin Zhang4, Guoying Zhou5, Chunying Yin3, Zhijun Lu6, Gaoming Xiong1, Yuelin Li7, Jiaxiang Li8, Wenting Xu1, Zhiyao Tang9,* and Zongqiang Xie1,2,**   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environment Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3 Key laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization & Ecological Restoration and Biodiversity Conservation, Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
    4 Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology and Biodiversity of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    5 Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008
    6 Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    7 South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
    8 College of Forest, Central South University of Forestry & Technology, Changsha 410004, China
    9 Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    *Correspondence address. Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Peking University, No. 5 Yiheyuan Road. Haidian District, Beijing 100871, China. Tel/Fax: +86-10-6275-4039; E-mail: zytang@urban.pku.edu.cn
    **Correspondence address. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environment Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science, No.20 Nanxincun, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China. Tel/Fax: +86-10-6283-6284; E-mail: xie@ibcas.ac.cn
  • Received:2017-08-31 Revised:2018-04-23 Accepted:2018-08-29 Online:2019-02-21 Published:2019-04-01

Abstract:

Aims

Carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) stoichiometry strongly affect functions and nutrient cycling within ecosystems. However, the related researches in shrubs were very limited. In this study, we aimed to investigate leaf stoichiometry and its driving factors in shrubs, and whether stoichiometry significantly differs among closely related species.

Methods

We analyzed leaf C, N and P concentrations and their ratios in 32 species of Ericaceae from 161 sites across southern China. We examined the relationships of leaf stoichiometry with environmental variables using linear regressions, and quantified the interactive and independent effects of climate, soil and species on foliar stoichiometry using general linear models (GLM).

Important Findings

The foliar C, N and P contents of Ericaceae were 484.66, 14.44 and 1.06 mg g?1, respectively. Leaf C, N and P concentrations and their ratios in Ericaceae were significantly related with latitude and altitude, except the N:P insignificantly correlated with latitude. Climate (mean annual temperature and precipitation) and soil properties (soil C, N and P and bulk density) were significantly influenced element stoichiometry. The GLM analysis showed that soil exerted a greater direct effect on leaf stoichiometry than climate did, and climate affected leaf traits mainly via indirect ways. Further, soil properties had stronger influences on leaf P than on leaf C and N. Among all independent factors examined, we found species accounted for the largest proportion of the variation in foliar stoichiometry. These results suggest that species can largely influence foliar stoichiometry, even at a lower taxonomic level.

Key words: biogeographic pattern, phylogenetic effect, closely related species, Ericoid Mycorrhiza, shrub

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