J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (4): rtac079.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtac079

• Research Articles •    

Typical ephemeral plant—Erodium oxyrhinchum: growth response to snow change in temperate desert, Northwest China

Jin-Fei Yin1, Xiao-Bing Zhou1, Nan Wu2, Yuanming Zhang1,*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China;
    2Yantai Key of Coastal Hydrological Process and Environment Security, Ludong University, Yantai 264025, China
  • Received:2021-12-06 Revised:2022-04-09 Accepted:2022-06-30 Online:2022-08-01 Published:2023-08-01
  • Contact: E-mail: ymzhang@ms.xjb.ac.cn


Abstract: Snow-cover changes in temperate desert ecosystems influence plant diversity, richness and distribution. The growth and distribution of herbaceous plants in these ecosystems are closely related to snow-cover depth, the most important water resource during the growth period due to water shortage during the dry season. However, the response to snow-cover change in winter remains unclear. The present investigation was undertaken to examine the influence of snow-cover change on the root growth of herbaceous species. The growth of desert typical ephemeral species, Erodium oxyrhinchum, was examined in Gurbantunggut Desert with four snow-cover depth treatments in winter. The four treatments were snow removal (-S), ambient snow, double snow (+S) and triple snow (+2S). The snow depth addition increased the abundance and growth rate of herbaceous plants. It also enhanced the biomass (including total and individual biomass) of these plants. The leaf area of E. oxyrhinchum increased significantly with snow addition, and the leaf dry matter content had an opposite trend. The study showed that the aboveground section of the plant was more sensitive to snow change than the underground. Snow change also influenced the root morphology. Snow removal resulted in the emergence of more lateral roots, whereas snow addition promoted the elongation of the main root for water and nutrient absorption. These results explain how changes in winter snow-cover depth alter plant growth, community structure and ecosystem function during the growing period in temperate desert ecosystems.

Key words: snow cover, plant growth, root morphology, temperate desert, ephemeral plant

温带荒漠生态系统积雪变化影响植物的多样性、丰富度及其分布。这些生态系统中草本植物的生长和分布与积雪深度密切相关,积雪由于旱季缺水而成为生长期最重要的水资源。然而,温带荒漠植物对冬季积雪变化的响应仍不清楚。本研究旨在探讨积雪变化对草本植物根系生长的影响。以古尔班通古特沙漠为研究对象,研究了冬季4种积雪深度处理下荒漠典型短生植物尖喙牻牛儿苗(Erodium oxyrhinchum)的生长情况。4种积雪深度处理分别是:移除积雪(-S)、自然降雪、加2倍深度积雪(+S)和加3倍深度积雪(+2S)。研究结果显示,积雪深度的增加提高了草本植物的丰度和生长速度,同时也提高了这些植物的生物量(包括总生物量和个体生物量)。雪的添加显著增加了尖喙牻牛儿苗的叶面积,而叶干物质含量则对雪的添加呈现相反的响应。这些结果表明,该植物的地上部分比地下部分对积雪变化更敏感。积雪深度的变化也影响根系形态。积雪移除使侧根增多,增加积雪深度促进主根伸长,有助于其吸收更多的水分和养分。这些结果解释了冬季积雪深度的变化如何改变温带沙漠生态系统生长期间的植物生长、群落结构和生态系统功能。

关键词: 积雪覆盖, 植物生长, 根系形态, 温带荒漠, 短生植物