Oecologia

, Volume 168, Issue 2, pp 301–310

Nitrogen and water availability interact to affect leaf stoichiometry in a semi-arid grassland

Authors

  • Xiao-Tao Lü
    • State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil EcologyInstitute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • De-Liang Kong
    • State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental ChangeInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Qing-Min Pan
    • State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental ChangeInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Matthew E. Simmons
    • State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental ChangeInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    • State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil EcologyInstitute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    • State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental ChangeInstitute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Physiological ecology - Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2097-7

Cite this article as:
Lü, X., Kong, D., Pan, Q. et al. Oecologia (2012) 168: 301. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2097-7

Abstract

The effects of global change factors on the stoichiometric composition of green and senesced plant tissues are critical determinants of ecosystem feedbacks to anthropogenic-driven global change. So far, little is known about species stoichiometric responses to these changes. We conducted a manipulative field experiment with nitrogen (N; 17.5 g m−2 year−1) and water addition (180 mm per growing season) in a temperate steppe of northern China that is potentially highly vulnerable to global change. A unique and important outcome of our study is that water availability modulated plant nutritional and stoichiometric responses to increased N availability. N addition significantly reduced C:N ratios and increased N:P ratios but only under ambient water conditions. Under increased water supply, N addition had no effect on C:N ratios in green and senesced leaves and N:P ratios in senesced leaves, and significantly decreased C:P ratios in both green and senesced leaves and N:P ratios in green leaves. Stoichiometric ratios varied greatly among species. Our results suggest that N and water addition and species identity can affect stoichiometric ratios of both green and senesced tissues through direct and interactive means. Our findings highlight the importance of water availability in modulating stoichiometric responses of plants to potentially increased N availability in semi-arid grasslands.

Keywords

C:N:PPrecipitation regimeSenesced leavesSteppeStoichiometric ratios

Supplementary material

442_2011_2097_MOESM1_ESM.doc (48 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 48 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011