Oecologia

, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 301–310

Leaf nitrogen:phosphorus stoichiometry across Chinese grassland biomes

  • Jin-Sheng He
  • Liang Wang
  • Dan F. B. Flynn
  • Xiangping Wang
  • Wenhong Ma
  • Jingyun Fang
Ecosystem Ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

Leaf N and P stoichiometry covaries with many aspects of plant biology, yet the drivers of this trait at biogeographic scales remain uncertain. Recently we reported the patterns of leaf C and N based on systematic census of 213 species over 199 research sites in the grassland biomes of China. With the expanded analysis of leaf P, here we report patterns of leaf P and N:P ratios, and analyze the relative contribution of climatic variables and phylogeny in structuring patterns of leaf N:P stoichiometry. Average values of leaf P and N:P ratio were 1.9 mg g−1 and 15.3 (mass ratio), respectively, consistent with the previous observation of a higher N:P ratio in China’s flora than the global averages (ca. 13.8), resulting from a lower leaf P. Climatic variables had very little direct correlation with leaf P and N:P ratios, with growing season precipitation and temperature together explaining less than 2% of the variation, while inter-site differences and within-site phylogenetic variation explained 55 and 26% of the total variation in leaf P and N:P ratios. Across all sites and species, leaf N and P were highly positively correlated at all levels. However, the within-site, within-species covariations of leaf N and P were weaker than those across sites and across species. Leaf N and P relationships are driven by both variation between sites at the landscape scale (explaining 58% of the variance) and within sites at the local scale (explaining 24%), while the climatic factors exerted limited influence (explaining less than 3%). In addition, leaf N:P ratios in two dominant genera Kobresia and Stipa had different responses to precipitation. This study suggests that geographic variation and between-species variation, rather than climatic variation, are the major determinants of grassland foliar stoichiometry at the biome level.

Keywords

Leaf traits Biogeographic patterns Inner Mongolia The Tibetan Plateau Xinjiang 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin-Sheng He
    • 1
  • Liang Wang
    • 1
  • Dan F. B. Flynn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiangping Wang
    • 1
  • Wenhong Ma
    • 1
  • Jingyun Fang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EcologyPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental BiologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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