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  • Volume 3 Issue 4
    Research Articles
    Amit Chakraborty, Bai-Lian Li
    2010, 3 (4): 231-242.
    Abstract ( 46 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Within a habitat of multiple plant species, increased resource availabilities and altered species abundances following disturbances create opportunities for exotic species to successfully establish and subsequently naturalize into its non-native environment. Such post-disturbance changes in abiotic and biotic environments may also promote a naturalized exotic species (or invading species) to become invasive through rapid colonization of the habitat sites by reducing the extent and size of resident plant species. By combining species life history traits with that of the disturbance-induced changes in habitat characteristics, we aimed to determine those interacting factors and associated mechanism allowing an exotic invasion to start off.
    Methods We used a modified version of the classic competition–colonization (CC) model which was formulated first by Hastings (1980) and studied later by Tilman (1994) to explain spatial coexistence of multiple species. Within this model framework, recruitment-limited spatial competition has explicitly been linked with interspecific resource competition without altering the basic assumptions and structure of the original CC model.
    Important findings The model results showed that at a constant rate of resource supply, invading species can stably coexist with native species via trade-offs between species competitive ability and colonizing ability. On the other hand, the model predicted that with a fluctuating resource condition, invading species can successfully invade a habitat following continuous reductions in the size and extent of native species. Whether or not invading species holds competitive superiority over the native species for limiting resource, we showed that there exists a range of variation in available resource that allows an exotic invasion to start off in post-disturbance habitat. The associated disturbance-induced mechanism promoting invading species to become invasive has been identified. It states that occurrences of disturbances such as fire or clear-cutting influence variation in resource availability, and in addition open up many vacant microsites; given these disturbance-induced changes, invading species with a higher rate of propagule production and with a higher survival rate of adults particularly in low-resource condition recruits microsites at faster rate relative to native competitor species, and with a given range of variation in resource availabilities, it maintains continued expansions following reductions in size and extent of native species. Moreover, we identified those interacting factors and their specific roles that drive this mechanism. These factors include propagule supply, variable resource level and vacant microsite availability. Increased availability of vacant microsites following disturbances creates an opportunity for rapid colonization. Given this opportunity, higher number of propagules supplied by the invading species enhances the rate of colonization success, whereas the resource variation within a range of given thresholds maintains enhanced colonization rate of the invading species while it depresses native competitor species. Owing to the each factor's invasion regulatory ability, controlling one or all of them may have strong negative impact on the occurrence of exotic invasion.
    Loïc Pellissier, Pascal Vittoz, Antonina Ingrid Internicola, Luc Daniel Bienvenu Gigord
    2010, 3 (4): 243-250.
    Abstract ( 47 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Food-deceptive pollination, in which plants do not offer any food reward to their pollinators, is common within the Orchidaceae. As food-deceptive orchids are poorer competitors for pollinator visitation than rewarding orchids, their occurrence in a given habitat may be more constrained than that of rewarding orchids. In particular, the success of deceptive orchids strongly relies on several biotic factors such as interactions with co-flowering rewarding species and pollinators, which may vary with altitude and over time. Our study compares generalized food-deceptive (i.e. excluding sexually deceptive) and rewarding orchids to test whether (i) deceptive orchids flower earlier compared to their rewarding counterparts and whether (ii) the relative occurrence of deceptive orchids decreases with increasing altitude.
    Methods To compare the flowering phenology of rewarding and deceptive orchids, we analysed data compiled from the literature at the species level over the occidental Palaearctic area. Since flowering phenology can be constrained by the latitudinal distribution of the species and by their phylogenetic relationships, we accounted for these factors in our analysis. To compare the altitudinal distribution of rewarding and deceptive orchids, we used field observations made over the entire Swiss territory and over two Swiss mountain ranges.
    Important findings We found that deceptive orchid species start flowering earlier than rewarding orchids do, which is in accordance with the hypotheses of exploitation of naive pollinators and/or avoidance of competition with rewarding co-occurring species. Also, the relative frequency of deceptive orchids decreases with altitude, suggesting that deception may be less profitable at high compared to low altitude.
    Lanke Fu, Shichang Wang, Zhenguo Liu, Ivan Nijs, Keping Ma, Zhenqing Li
    2010, 3 (4): 251-258.
    Abstract ( 52 )   PDF   Save
    Aims To explore whether the trade-off between seed and vegetative reproductive modes is flexible in environments with different amounts of available resources to maintain optimal behaviors.
    Methods A transition matrix model was established to determine the optimal trade-off between seed and vegetative reproduction in resources–variable habitats.
    Important findings The model predicts that plants allocate more resources to seed reproduction when available resources are scarce. With increasing resources, more vegetative propagules are produced. However, if resources keep increasing to a harmful level, plants would switch to seeds again.
    Shirong Zhang, Jie Song, He Wang, Gu Feng
    2010, 3 (4): 259-267.
    Abstract ( 65 )   PDF   Save
    Aims We investigated the impact of salinity on seed germination, chlorophyll content, chloroplast structure and photosynthesis of the green embryos in desiccated seeds of the xerophyte Haloxylon persicum, xero-halophyte Haloxylon ammodendron and euhalophyte Suaeda physophora.
    Methods Seeds of H. persicum, H. ammodendron and S. physophora were collected from natural environment in Fukang, Xinjiang province. Pretreatment with 700 mM NaCl was carried out to stimulate the natural 'seed priming'; we analyzed the joint effect of salinity and different species on germination physiology and cotyledonal structure and photosynthetic function changes during germination and recovery stage.
    Important findings We found that seeds did not suffer ion toxicity for the two halophytes H. ammodendron and S. physophora, as evidenced by the high final germination after ungerminated seeds pretreated with 700 mM NaCl were transferred to distilled water, but the final germination of the xerophyte H. persicum was significantly lower than that of control. The Na + concentration in embryos increased under salinity for all species, while K + concentration decreased by salinity only for H. persicum and H. ammodendron, i.e. the concentration of K + in embryos of H. persicum and H. ammodendron decreased by 36% and 46%, respectively. For all species, whether dry intact seeds or cotyledons of dry seeds imbibed in deionized water and NaCl solution, had high chlorophyll content. Treatment with NaCl also caused chloroplast thylakoids to swell and chlorophyll content to decrease in seeds of H. persicum, but no significant change was observed in the more salt-tolerant species S. physophora and H. ammodendron. Fluorescence measurement showed that 700 mM NaCl decreased the Fv/Fm ratio of cotyledons in seeds for all species, especially for H. persicum and H. ammodendron. Photosynthetic oxygen releasing was detected from the seeds that were moistened with distilled water and 700 mM NaCl for 6 or 24 h and from the seeds that were initially moistened with 700 mM NaCl in darkness for 10 days, then transferred to distilled water for another 6 and 24 h. The results indicated that the chlorophyll in cotyledon of desiccated seed had photosynthetic function in early germination stage, even under high-saline condition. In addition, the photosynthesis of chlorophyll in the embryonic cotyledons of desiccated seeds during germination was similar to that in leaves of young seedlings for all species. In conclusion, the chloroplasts of the two halophytes were more salt resistant compared with the xerophyte H. persicum. The photosynthetic function of chlorophyll in cotyledons of mature seeds may be ecologically important for seedling development in early stage for plants growing in extremely saline or arid environments.
    Hongyuan Ma, Zhengwei Liang, Haitao Wu, Lihua Huang, Zhichun Wang
    2010, 3 (4): 269-277.
    Abstract ( 55 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Leymus chinensis is an original dominant plant in the Songnen grassland, and it has great value for restoration of severely degraded land. However, seeds are dormant, and low germination percentage is a problem for restoring L.chinensis grassland. The mechanism of seed dormancy is not been well understood. The primary aims of the present study were to investigate the dormancy mechanism of L.chinensis seeds (caryopses) with reference to the role of embryo-covering layers, endogenous hormones and temperature.
    Methods Changes in concentration of the endogenous hormones GA 3, indoleacetic acid (IAA), zeatin riboside (ZR) and abscisic acid (ABA) in L.chinensis seeds from anthesis to maturity were measured by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. Germination at different stages of maturity were tested at 16/28°C, 5/28°C and 5/35°C for intact seeds with glumes (control), intact seeds with glumes removed (naked-whole seeds) and intact seeds with glumes and one-half of the endosperm removed (naked-half seeds).
    Important findings Of the four endogenous hormones monitored, only the concentration of ZR differed significantly between the beginning and the end of seed development (increased); the GA 3 /ABA ratio also did not differ. Rank of germination percentage of control at the three temperature regimens was 5/28°C> 16/28°C> 5/35°C. Germination percentage of the naked-half seeds reached 100% under the three temperature regimens. We concluded that dormancy of L.chinensis seeds is not mainly controlled by endogenous hormones. Germination temperature, mechanical resistance of glumes and inhibition of endosperm are the main factors controlling dormancy and germination of L.chinensis seeds.
    Shuqin Gao, Xuehua Ye, Yu Chu, Ming Dong
    2010, 3 (4): 279-284.
    Abstract ( 51 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Biological soil crusts (BSCs) can affect soil properties including water dynamics and cycling of soil carbon and nitrogen in dryland ecosystems. Previous research has mostly focused on effects of BSCs on soil water distribution or carbon and nitrogen fixation in the surface soil layer. Thus, little is known about effects of BSCs on properties throughout the soil profile. In the current study, we assessed the effects of BSCs on the distribution of soil water content (SW), soil organic carbon content (SOC) and soil total nitrogen content (STN) throughout the soil profile as well as the influence of water conditions on the effects of BSCs.
    Methods In a field investigation in Mu Us Sandland, North China, soil samples were taken from plots with and without BSCs on 13 and 28 September 2006, respectively. On the two sampling dates, average soil gravimetric water content was 3.83% (±1.29%) and 5.08% (±0.89%), respectively, which were regarded as low and high water conditions. Soil samples were collected every 5 cm to a depth of 60 cm, and SW, SOC and STN were measured in the laboratory.
    Important findings (i) BSCs affected profile distribution of SW, SOC and STN. In addition, water conditions within the plots significantly modified BSCs' effects on the profile distribution of SW, but marginally affected the effects on SOC and STN. (ii) Under high water conditions, SW in the surface soil layer (0–10 cm) was higher in soils with BSCs compared to those without BSCs, while the opposite was true in the deep soil layer (30–55 cm). (iii) Under low water conditions, SW was lower with BSCs compared with no BSCs in near-surface (5–20 cm) and deep (25–40 cm) soil layers. (iv) BSCs affected SOC and STN only in the surface soil layer (0–5 cm) and were modified by plot water conditions.
    Gang Zhang, Ya-qing Li,, Sheng-hao Dong
    2010, 3 (4): 285-293.
    Abstract ( 47 )   PDF   Save
    Aims Nursery and forest operations require that frost hardiness results be produced faster than can be provided by controlled freezing tests. There is a great challenge to develop a rapid method for predicting frost hardiness that might not necessitate controlled freezing tests. The aim of this study was to examine the assessment of the frost hardiness of shoots and needles of Pinus bungeana by electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) with and without controlled exposure to freezing.
    Methods The frost hardiness of current-year shoots and needles of P. bungeana in an 8-year-old provenance field trial was measured at Shisanlin Nursery in Beijing, China, from September 2006 to January 2007 by means of EIS and conventional electrolyte leakage (EL). In the same plants, but without controlled freezing test, were monitored the EIS parameters in current-year shoots and needles.
    Important findings The results showed that (i) after controlled freezing tests, the frost hardiness estimated by EIS parameters (extracellular resistance, r e, and membrane time constant, τ m) was significantly correlated with the frost hardiness assessed by EL method (r = 0.95) and (ii) for the samples not exposed to controlled freezing treatment, the relaxation time τ 1 for shoots and β for needles had greater correlations with the frost hardiness estimated by EL after controlled freezing tests relative to the other parameters (r = ?0.90 for shoots and r = 0.84 for needles, respectively). The parameters r e of shoots and needles and τ m of needles might be applied for measuring frost hardiness of samples after exposed to controlled freezing tests. The frost hardiness results can be obtained within 48 h. The parameters τ 1 of shoots and β of needles could be used for estimating the frost hardiness of samples without using a controlled freezing test. The frost hardiness results can be obtained within 24 h.
Impact Factor
5 year Impact Factor
Wen-Hao Zhang
Bernhard Schmid