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  • Volume 16 Issue 4
    Single flower of Epimedium chlorandrum Stearn after nocturnal rain. The species is endemic to Sichuan Province, China. Each flower consists of four green outer sepals that are shed when the flower opens, four conspicuous white or pink in the middle and white on both sides’ inner sepals, four yellow petals each with a saccate nectar spur like an umbrella, which shields the anthers and stigma from rain wash and prevents rainwater from entering the spurs and diluting the nectar. The photo was taken in the mountain of Baoxing County, Ya'an city, western Sichuan Province, China, where the E. chlorandrum Stearn are frequent and locally abundant. Photo taken by Qiu-Mei Quan. See Qian et al. in this issue.
    Research Articles
    Jin-Fei Yin, Xiao-Bing Zhou, Nan Wu, Yuanming Zhang
    2023, 16 (4): rtac079.
    Abstract ( 105 )   PDF(pc) (1246KB) ( 47 )   Save
    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.
    Yumeng Guo, Meng Zhou, Jun Sheng, Yujia Yuan, Guangyuan Yuan, Wen-Hao Zhang, Wenming Bai
    2023, 16 (4): rtac085.
    Abstract ( 82 )   PDF(pc) (1904KB) ( 41 )   Save
    Phosphorus (P) is an essential element for plant growth, however, whether the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) of typical steppe was limited by P remains obscure. To detect the effects of P addition on primary productivity and aboveground biomass of different plant functional groups both under ambient and N addition conditions, ANPP and aboveground biomass of grasses and forbs were measured from 2016 to 2020 on a 16-year N and P addition experiment platform in a temperate typical steppe in Inner Mongolia. The soil available N and P concentrations were also determined to test the relationship between ANPP and the availability of soil nutrients. We found that P addition under ambient condition had no significant effect on ANPP and the aboveground biomass of grasses and forbs. However, under N addition, P addition significantly increased ANPP and the aboveground biomass of forbs. Furthermore, soil available N and P concentrations were increased significantly by N and P addition, respectively. Moreover, there was no significant correlation between ANPP and soil available P concentration, while ANPP was positively correlated with soil available N concentration. These results suggest that P is not the key factor limiting the primary productivity of the temperate typical steppe in Inner Mongolia. However, under N addition, P addition can promote ANPP and alter the community composition. These findings provide valuable information for the management of the temperate typical steppe.
    Xiaoping Chen, Xingui Le, Karl J. Niklas, Dandan Hu, Quanlin Zhong, Dongliang Cheng
    2023, 16 (4): rtac093.
    Abstract ( 97 )   PDF(pc) (1212KB) ( 77 )   Save
    Evergreen and deciduous species coexist in the subtropical forests in southeastern China. It has been suggested that phosphorus (P) is the main limiting nutrient in subtropical forests, and that evergreen and deciduous species adopt different carbon capture strategies to deal with this limitation. However, these hypotheses have not been examined empirically to a sufficient degree. In order to fill this knowledge gap, we measured leaf photosynthetic and respiration rates, and nutrient traits related to P-, nitrogen (N)- and carbon (C)-use efficiencies and resorption using 75 woody species (44 evergreen and 31 deciduous species) sampled in a subtropical forest. The photosynthetic N-use efficiency (PNUE), respiration rate per unit N and P (Rd,N and Rd,P, respectively) of the deciduous species were all significantly higher than those of evergreen species, but not in the case of photosynthetic P-use efficiency. These results indicate that, for any given leaf P, evergreen species manifest higher carbon-use efficiency (CUE) than deciduous species, a speculation that is empirically confirmed. In addition, no significant differences were observed between deciduous and evergreen species for nitrogen resorption efficiency, phosphorus resorption efficiency or N:P ratios. These results indicate that evergreen species coexist with deciduous species and maintain dominance in P-limited subtropical forests by maintaining CUE. Our results also indicate that it is important to compare the PNUE of deciduous species with evergreen species in other biomes. These observations provide insights into modeling community dynamics in subtropical forests, particularly in light of future climate change.
    Heng Li, Jiajia Zhang, Jingyi Ru, Jian Song, Zhensheng Chi, Yujin Zheng, Lin Jiang, Shiqiang Wan
    2023, 16 (4): rtac098.
    Abstract ( 80 )   PDF(pc) (1165KB) ( 82 )   Save
    Land use and nutrient enrichment can substantially affect biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. However, whether and how the responses of community temporal stability to land use and nutrient enrichment change with time remain poorly understood. As part of a 15-year (2005-2019) field experiment, this study was conducted to explore the effects of mowing, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) additions on community temporal stability in a temperate steppe on the Mongolian Plateau. Over the 15 years, N and P additions decreased community temporal stability by reducing the population stability, especially the shrub and semi-shrub stability. However, mowing increased community temporal stability in the early stage (2005-2009) only. Nitrogen addition suppressed community temporal stability in the early and late (2015-2019) stages, whereas enhanced it in the intermediate stage (2010-2014). Phosphorus addition decreased community temporal stability marginally in the early stage and significantly in the late stage. The fluctuations of N-induced changes in community temporal stability are mainly explained by its diverse effects on species asynchrony and population stability over time. Our findings highlight the important role of plant functional groups and species asynchrony in regulating community temporal stability, suggesting that more long-term studies are needed to accurately forecast ecosystem response patterns in the context of global change.
    Zhenlu Qiu, Mei Zhang, Kefan Wang, Fuchen Shi
    2023, 16 (4): rtac102.
    Abstract ( 72 )   PDF(pc) (1186KB) ( 54 )   Save
    The study is to explore the dynamics of community structure, diversity, interspecific relationships and stability during naturalized developmental vegetation restoration which realized by natural interaction between plantation and native trees without human’s involvement. The naturalized developmental restored forests in Baxianshan National Reserve were divided into three typical stages (i.e. Pinus tabulaeformis forest stage, mixed forest stage and near-natural forest stage) according to the ratio of P. tabulaeformis coverage to arbor layer, and the zonal natural secondary forests for control. According to the data of each wood gauge, we focused on the dynamics of community in terms of structure, diversity and stability. We found that, (i) The composition of dominant populations kept stable since the mixed forests stage and the α-diversity increased with restoration; (ii) The diameter class structure of tree layer exhibited a tendency of bell-shaped type toward inverted J-type, indicating an active regenerating and developmental status; (iii) Niche width of dominant populations such as Juglans mandshurica, Quercus mongolica, Quercus variabilis and Tilia amurensis increased during restoration, while that of Quercus dentata population decreased after playing a pioneer role; (iv) The proportion of negative association and high niche overlapped population pairs (>0.5) both decreased with restoration. In summary, naturalized developmental restoration has promoted the actively developing and regenerating of populations and improved the healthy restoration of plantation community. The status and interrelationships of populations were still being adjusted. The results provide a reference for revealing the dynamic characteristics of vegetation community development in naturalized developmental restoration of plantations.
    Ling-Feng Mao, Yu-Ran Dong, Bing-Bing Xing, You-Hua Chen, Jacqueline Dennett, Christopher Bater, John J. Stadt, Scott E. Nielsen
    2023, 16 (4): rtac104.
    Abstract ( 66 )   PDF(pc) (1754KB) ( 71 )   Save
    Understanding how maximum canopy height is related to forest community assembly is essential yet largely unexplored. Maximum canopy height is affected by competition and abiotic environmental factors through different ecological processes (e.g. niche differentiation and environmental filtering), as well as historical or stochastic factors. However, little has been done to empirically examine the ecological processes that influence maximum canopy height. We set out to examine the relationship between maximum canopy height and community phylogenic structure. We surveyed maximum canopy heights from a regional dataset of forest plots (466 sites of 50 m × 50 m) from the boreal forest of northeastern Alberta, Canada. We then explored the relationships between maximum canopy height as measured by airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and the phylogenetic structure of seed plants, represented by net relatedness index and nearest taxa index. We found stronger phylogenetic clustering among major evolutionary clades for communities with higher maximum canopy height, which implied that environmental filtering by abiotic factors is a driving factor for boreal forests. However, we also found stronger phylogenetic overdispersion within each clade for communities with higher maximum height, indicating more intense niche differentiation. Our results suggest that communities with higher maximum canopy height may have experienced more intense historical abiotic environmental filtering and recent niche differentiation in boreal forests. These findings will contribute to the monitoring and management of forest biodiversity.
    Ruoxuan Liu, Jungang Chen, Zhengru Ren, Xu Chen, Haining Lu, Yuqiu Zhang, Yunhai Zhang
    2023, 16 (4): rtac108.
    Abstract ( 86 )   PDF(pc) (1846KB) ( 70 )   Save
    Leaf is the main organ of photosynthesis. Leaf phenotypic plasticity largely determines the adaptation of plants to enriched nitrogen (N) environments. However, it remains unclear whether the optimal number (proportion) of leaves representing the leaf traits of the whole plant is similar between ambient and N-enriched conditions. Moreover, whether alteration in ammonium (NH4+-N) to nitrate (NO3--N) ratios in atmospheric N deposition will alter the optimal leaf number is unexplored. By adding three NH4+-N/NO3--N ratios in a temperate grassland of northern China since 2014, three traits (leaf area, thickness and chlorophyll content) of two dominant clonal grasses, Leymus chinensis and Agropyron cristatum, were measured in August 2020. Results showed that under ambient conditions, the mean leaf area, thickness and chlorophyll content values of two fully expanded leaves were similar to these of all leaves at the plant level, except for the leaf area of L. chinensis, which needed five leaves (78.82% of leaves in the plant). The ratios of NH4+-N/NO3--N increased the number of required sampled leaves and significantly changed the mean value of leaf traits and the maximum value along leaf order. Moreover, the ratios of NH4+-N/NO3--N altered the trade-off among the three leaf traits, which is dependent on leaf order, by increasing leaf area and decreasing leaf thickness. Therefore, our study suggests that to better indicate the leaf traits’ value of the whole plant under N-enriched conditions, measuring all fully expanded leaves or providing a suitable scaling-up parameter is needed.
    Lloyd W. Morrison, Sherry A. Leis, Michael D. DeBacker
    2023, 16 (4): rtad002.
    Abstract ( 108 )   PDF(pc) (568KB) ( 53 )   Save
    We investigated the effect of observer error on four commonly used species diversity measures: species richness, Shannon-Weiner diversity, Shannon-Weiner evenness and Simpson's index of diversity. We also evaluated how observer error affects inferences derived from multivariate analyses of species-abundance relationships as determined by non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) ordination. Grassland vegetation was sampled by three different botanists at two national park units in Missouri and Kansas, USA. The same plots were sampled by two of the botanists, who compiled lists of species composition and estimated foliar cover. Differences in the data records were then compared. Pseudoturnover (i.e. apparent turnover due to observer error) ranged from 17.1% to 22.1%, and differences in cover class estimation ranged from 21.5% to 30.5%. The percentage difference in species diversity measures between pairs of observers depended on how data were summarized, but were always <20%, and often <10%. Based on these results, species diversity metrics are affected to a relatively smaller extent by observer error than turnover indices. Turnover indices, however, contain more information because they track individual species, whereas species are interchangeable in most species diversity indices. Thus, less of the error is identified because of how species diversity indices are calculated. NMS ordinations revealed that while the characterizations of some plots by different observers were similar, differences between observers' records for other plots resulted in greater separation in ordination space. Points representing one observer's records were often shifted in ordination space in the same direction compared with the other observer.
    Li Zhu, Jun Xiang, Da-Yong Zhang, Wei Wang, Shuang-Guo Zhu, Bao-Zhong Wang, Li-Yuan Yang, Meng-Ying Li, You-Cai Xiong
    2023, 16 (4): rtad004.
    Abstract ( 57 )   PDF(pc) (1082KB) ( 47 )   Save
    Growth redundancy, the overgrowth of resource-foraging organs in crop stands, is often detrimental to yield and is thus called a ‘tragedy of the commons’. A tragedy can also arise owing to the plastic overproduction of competitive structures when intra-variety individuals forage in close proximity to each other. However, little is known about the sensitivity of crop varieties and resource availability to this ‘plastic’ tragedy. Pot experiments were designed to investigate this issue. The root competition environment was imposed by growing two plants of the same variety in mesh and plastic partitions. Two wheat varieties (old Monkhead and modern 92-46) were used, and two resource levels were established. Compared with 92-46, Monkhead allocated more biomass to stems and leaves and concurrently less to seeds. We identified intra-variety neighbour effects only in 4 out of 24 allometric comparisons with a small magnitude. Allometric data also revealed a lowered response to fertilizer addition in 92-46 than in Monkhead. Based on a limited sample size, our results revealed a trade-off between above-ground vegetative growth and crop yield. This trade-off resulted in a tragedy of the commons in old Monkhead and enhanced yields in modern 92-46. The tragedy of the commons in wheat may generally arise from genetically fixed traits in terms of growth redundancy in old varieties, rather than from the plastic behaviour of individuals. Modern 92-46 may adopt a conservative strategy of resource use, whereas old Monkhead employs an exploitative strategy. Our findings highlight breeders should select genotypes with low individual competitiveness.
    Yi-Fan Qian, Wen Du, Lan-Ying Chen, Qiu-Mei Quan, Yun-Xiang Li
    2023, 16 (4): rtad003.
    Abstract ( 82 )   PDF(pc) (762KB) ( 34 )   Save
    The evolution and expression of floral traits are responsive to selection pressure from biotic and abiotic factors. Although floral traits significantly vary among environments, the flower remains unchanged. We aimed to understand the adaptation of Epimedium chlorandrum of floral traits to a frequently nocturnally rainy and wet environments and the roles of floral traits in pollination and reproduction. We observed flowering phenology, measured floral characteristics including the number of pollen grains and ovules per flower, measured pollen viability and stigma receptivity, tested the volume and sugar concentration of nectar and conducted flower-visit observations in this species. Different pollination treatments were performed to characterize the breeding system. The inner sepals and highly curved longer spurs of E. chlorandrum jointly formed an umbrella that shielded the anthers and stigma from rain wash and prevented nectar dilution. Epimedium chlorandrum was visited by six species, while Bombus trifasciatus was the only effective pollinator and fed on the nectar. One flower secreted approximately 17.06 µL of nectar with a 29.19 g/100 mL sugar concentration, and the pollination efficiency of B. trifasciatus was positively associated with the nectar sugar concentration. The self- and open-pollination treatments resulted in fewer fertile seeds than the cross-pollination treatment. In contrast, the autonomous self- pollination treatment failed to yield fertile seeds. In summary, pollen limitation caused by harsh weather and pollinator shortage occurred during the pollination process of E. chlorandrum, which was partially alleviated by self-compatibility.
    Meiquan Wang, Qingwei Guan
    2023, 16 (4): rtad006.
    Abstract ( 86 )   PDF(pc) (1870KB) ( 45 )   Save
    Broussonetia papyrifera is an important native tree species in China with strong adaptability, wide distribution and economic importance. Climate change is considered as the main threat to ecological processes and global biodiversity. Predicting the potential geographical distribution of B. papyrifera in future climate change scenarios will provide a scientific basis for ecological restoration in China. Principal component analysis and Pearson correlation analysis were conducted to select the environmental variables. The distribution and changes in the potential suitable area for B. papyrifera were predicted using the maximum entropy model and the CIMP6 dataset from 2041 to 2060. The current highly suitable areas for B. papyrifera were mainly located in Guangdong (5.60 × 104 km2), Guangxi (4.39 × 104 km2), Taiwan (2.54 × 104 km2) and Hainan (2.17 × 104 km2). The mean temperature of the coldest quarter (11.54-27.11 °C), precipitation of the driest quarter (51.48-818.40 mm) and precipitation of the wettest quarter (665.51-2302.60 mm) were the main factors limiting the suitable areas for B. papyrifera. The multi-modal average of the highly and the total suitable areas for B. papyrifera were 111.42 × 104 and 349.11 × 104 km2 in the SSP5-8.5 scenario, while those in the SSP1-2.6 scenario were 87.50 × 104 and 328.29 × 104 km2, respectively. The gained suitable areas for B. papyrifera will expand to the western and northern China in the future scenarios. The multi-model averaging results showed that the potential available planting area was 212.66 × 104 and 229.32 × 104 km2 in the SSP1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5 scenarios, respectively, when the suitable area within the farmland range was excluded.
IF: 3.0
5-year IF: 2.5
Yuanhe Yang
Bernhard Schmid
CN 10-1172/Q
ISSN 1752-9921(print)
ISSN 1752-993X(online)