, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 437–445

Different growth and physiological responses to experimental warming of two dominant plant species Elymus nutans and Potentilla anserina in an alpine meadow of the eastern Tibetan Plateau

Original Papers


The effects of experimental warming on the growth and physiology of grass Elymus nutans and forb Potentilla anserina were studied by using open-top chambers (OTCs) in an alpine meadow of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. The warming treatment increased mean air and soil surface temperatures by 1.53°C and 0.50°C, respectively, but it reduced soil relative water content in the surface layer. Experimental warming enhanced the growth and gas exchange of E. nutans, while it reduced those of P. anserina. Experimental warming resulted in an increased efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) in E. nutans, while decreasing it in P. anserina; significantly stimulated non-photochemical quenching, antioxidative enzymes and non-enzymes in both species; and significantly reduced malondialdehyde content in E. nutans, while promoting it in P. anserina. The results of this study indicated that the two species showed different growth responses to experimental warming and their different physiological performances further indicated that experimental warming alleviated the negative effect of low temperature on the growth and development of E. nutans, but limited the competitive ability of P. anserina in the study region.

Additional key words

Elymus nutans experimental warming growth physiology Potentilla anserina 



activated oxygen species


ascorbate peroxidase


apparent quantum yield




intercellular CO2 concentration


transpiration rate


maximal PSII efficiency


stomatal conductance


photosynthetic light compensation point




non-photochemical quenching


open-top chamber(s)


photosynthetically active radiation


photon flux density


maximum net photosynthetic rate


net photosynthesis rate




photochemical quenching


dark respiration rate


superoxide dismutase


actual photochemical efficiency of PSII in the light


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aebi, H.: Catalase in vitro. — J. Meth. Enzymol. 105: 121–126, 1984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alward, R.D., Detling, J.K., Milchunas, D.G.: Grassland vegetation changes and nocturnal global warming. — Science 283: 229–231, 1999.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Apel, K., Hirt, H.: Reactive oxygen species: metabolism, oxidative stress, and signal transduction. — Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 55: 373–399, 2004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Arft, A.M., Walker, M.D., Gurevitch, J., Alatalo, J.M., Bret-Harte, M.S., Dale, M., et al.: Responses of tundra plants to experimental warming: Meta-analysis of the international tundra experiment. — Ecol. Monogr. 69: 491–511, 1999.Google Scholar
  5. Atkin, O.K., Bruhn, D., Hurry, V.M., Tjoelker, M.G.: The hot and the cold: unraveling the variable response of plant respiration to temperature. — Funct. Plant Biol. 32: 87–105, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Atkin, O.K., Scheurwater, I., Pons, T.L.: High thermal acclimation potential of both photosynthesis and respiration in two lowland Plantago species in contrast to an alpine congeneric. — Global Change Biol. 12: 500–515, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Battaglia, M., Beadle, C., Loughhead, S.: Photosynthetic temperature responses of Eucalyptus globules and Eucalyptus nitens. — Tree Physiol. 16: 81–89, 1996.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bergh, J., Linder, S.: Effects of soil warming during spring on photosynthetic recovery in boreal Norway spruce stands. — Global Change Biol. 5: 245–253, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bilger, W., Björkman, O.: Role of the xanthophyll cycle in photoprotection elucidated by measurements of light-induced absorbance changes, fluorescence and photosynthesis in leaves of Hedera canariensis. — Photosynth. Res. 25: 173–185, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bilger, W., Fisahn, J., Brummet, W., Kossmann, J., Willmitzer, L.: Violaxanthin cycle pigment contents in potato and tobacco plants with genetically reduced photosynthetic capacity. — Plant Physiol. 108: 1479–1486, 1995.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bolstad, P.V., Reich, P., Lee, T.: Rapid temperature acclimation of leaf respiration rates in Quercus alba and Quercus rubra. — Tree Physiol. 23: 969–976, 2003.Google Scholar
  12. Campbell, B.D., Laing, W.A., Greer, D.H., Crush, J.R., Clark, H., Williamson, D.Y., Given, M.D.J.: Variation in grassland populations and species and the implications for community responses to elevated CO2. — J. Biogeogr. 22: 315–322, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chance, B., Maehly, A.C.: Assay of catalase and peroxidase. — J. Method Enzymol. 2: 764–775, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chapin, F.S., III., Shaver, G.R.: Physiological and growth responses of arctic plants to a field experiment simulating climatic change. — Ecology 77: 822–840, 1996.Google Scholar
  15. Chaves, M.M., Pereira, J.S., Maroco, J., Rodrigues, M.L., Ricardo, C.P.P., Osorio, M.L., Carvalho, I., Faria, T., Pinheiro, C.: How plants cope with water stress in the field. Photosynthesis and growth. — Ann. Bot. 89: 907–916, 2002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Dormann, C.F., Woodin, S.J.: Climate change in the Arctic: using plant functional types in a meta-analysis of field experiments. — Funct. Ecol. 16: 4–17, 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Edwards, J.A., Smith, R.L.: Photosynthesis and respiration of Colobanthus quitensis and Deschampsia antarctia from the maritime Antarctica. — Brit. Antarct. Surv. Bull. 81: 43–63, 1988.Google Scholar
  18. Giannopolitis, C.N., Ries, S.K.: Superoxide dismutases. 1. Occurrence in higher plants. — Plant Physiol. 59: 309–314, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gunn, S., Farrar, J.F.: Effects of a 4 degrees C increase in temperature on partitioning of leaf area and dry mass, root respiration and carbohydrates. — Funct. Ecol. 13: 12–20, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harte, J., Shaw, R.: Shifting dominance within a montane vegetation community: results of a climate-warming experiment. — Science. 267: 876–880, 1995.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Haupt-Herting, S., Fock, H.P.: Oxygen exchange in relation to carbon assimilation in water-stressed leaves during photosynthesis. — Ann. Bot. 89: 851–859, 2002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. He, W.-M., Dong, M.: Plasticity in physiology and growth of Salix matsudana in response to simulated atmospheric temperature rise in the Mu Us Sandland. — Photosynthetica 41: 297–300, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Heath, R.L., Packer, L.: Photoperoxidation in isolated chloroplast I. Kinetics and stoichiometry of fatty acid peroxidation. — Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 25: 189–198, 1968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Henry, G.H.R., Molau, U.: Tundra plants and climate change: the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX). — Global Change Biol. 3: 1–9, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hikosaka, K., Kato, M.C., Hirose, T.: Photosynthetic rates and partitioning of absorbed light energy in photoinhibited leaves. — Physiol. Plantrum 121: 699–708, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hirose, T., Werger, M.J.A.: Nitrogen use efficiency in instantaneous and daily photosynthesis of leaves in the canopy of a Solidago altissima stand. — Physiol. Plant. 70: 215–222, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. IPCC.: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. — Summary for Policymakers. WMO and UNEF, Geneva. 2007.Google Scholar
  28. Jarvis, A.J., Stauch, V.J., Schulz, K., Young, P.C.: The seasonal temperature dependency of photosynthesis and respiration in two deciduous forests. — Global Change Biol. 10: 939–950, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jonasson, S., Michelsen, A., Schmidt, I.K., Nielsen, E.V.: Responses in microbes and plants to changed temperature, nutrient, and light regimes in the arctic. — Ecology 80: 1828–1843, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Knorzer, O.C., Durner, J., Boger, P.: Alterations in the antioxidative system of suspension — cultured soybean cells (Glycine max) induced by oxidative stress. — Physiol. Plant 97: 388–396, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lee, T.D., Reich, P.B., Bolstad, P.V.: Acclimation of leaf respiration to temperature is rapid and related to specific leaf area, soluble sugars and leaf nitrogen across three temperate deciduous tree species. — Funct. Ecol. 19: 640–647, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lei, Y., Yin, C., Li, C.: Differences in some morphological, physiological, and biochemical responses to drought stress in two contrasting populations of Populus przewalskii. — Physiol. Plant. 127: 182–191, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Loik, M.E., Redar, S.P., Harte, J.: Photosynthetic responses to a climate-warming manipulation for contrasting meadow species in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA. — Funct. Ecol. 14: 166–175, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Loik, M.E., Still, C.J., Huxman, T.E., Harte, J.: In situ photosynthetic freezing tolerance for plants exposed to a global warming manipulation in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA. — New Phytol. 162: 331–341, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mittler, R.: Oxidative stress, antioxidants and stress tolerance. — Trends Plant Sci. 7: 405–410, 2002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Mittler, R., Vanderauwera, S., Gollery, M., Van Breusegem, F.: Reactive oxygen gene network of plants. — Trends Plant Sci. 9: 490–498, 2004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Nakano, Y., Asada, K.: Hydrogen peroxide is scavenged by ascorbate-specific peroxidase in spinach chloroplasts. — Plant Cell Physiol. 22: 867–880, 1981.Google Scholar
  38. Parsons, A.N., Press, M.C., Wookey, I.A., Welker, J.M., Robinson, C.H., Callaghan, T.V., Lee, J.A.: Growth-response and of Calamagrostis lapponica to simulated environmentalchange in the sub-arctic. — Oikos. 72: 61–66, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Peters, R.L., Lovejoy, T.L.: Global Warming and Biological Diversity. — Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut 1992.Google Scholar
  40. Rosenqvist, E., van Kooten, O.: Chlorophyll fluorescence: a general description and nomenclature. — In: DeEll, J.R., Toivonen, P.M.A. (ed.): Practical Applications of Chlorophyll Fluorescence in Plant Biology. Pp. 31–78. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 2003.Google Scholar
  41. Rustad, L.E., Campbell, J.L., Marion, G.M., Norby, R.J., Mitchell, M.J., Hartley, A.E., Cornelissen, J.H.C., Gurevitch, J.: A metaanalysis of the response of soil respiration, net nitrogen mineralization, and aboveground plant growth to experimental ecosystem warming. — Oecologia. 126: 543–562, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shah, N.H., Paulsen, G.M.: Interaction of drought and high temperature on photosynthesis and grain-filling of wheat. — Plant Soil. 257: 219–226, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shi, F., Wu, N., Luo, P.: Effect of temperature enhancement on community structure and biomass of subalpine meadow in Northwestern Sichuan. — Acta Ecologica Sinica 28: 5286–5293, 2008.Google Scholar
  44. Shi, F., Wu, N., Luo, P., Yi, S.L., Wu, Y., Wang, Q., Li, Y.L., Chen, H., Gao, Y.H.: Effect of enclosing on community structure of subalpine meadow in Northwestern Sichuan, China. — Chin. J. Appl. Environ. Biol. 13: 767–770, 2007.Google Scholar
  45. Smirnoff, N.: Plant resistance to environmental stress. — Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 9: 214–219, 1998.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Sternberg, M., Brown, V.K., Masters, G.J., Clarke, I.P.: Plant community dynamics in a calcareous grassland under climate change manipulation. — Plant Ecol. 143: 29–37, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Valentini, R., Epron, D., De Angelis, P., Matteucci, G., Dreyer, E.: In situ estimation of net CO2 assimilation, photosynthetic electron flow and photorespiration in Turkey oak (Q. cerris L.) leaves: diurnal cycles under different levels of water supply. — Plant Cell Environ. 18: 631–640, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Van Kooten, O., Snel, J.F.H.: The use of chorophyII fluorescence momenclature in plant stress physiology. — Photosynth. Res. 25: 147–150, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walker, M.D., Webber, P.J., Arnold, E.H., Ebert-May, D.: Effects of interannual climate variation on aboveground phytomass in alpine vegetation. — Ecology 75: 393–408, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Woodward, F.I.: A review of the effects of climate on vegetation: ranges, competition, and composition. — In: Peters, R.L., Lovejoy, T.E. (ed.): Global Warming and Biological Diversity. Pp. 105–123. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut 1992.Google Scholar
  51. Xiao, C.W., Zhou, G.S., Ceulemans, R.: Effects of elevated temperature on growth and gas exchange in dominant plant species from Maowusu sandland, China. — Photosynthetica 41: 565–569, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Xin, Z., Browse, J.: Cold comfort farm: the acclimation of plants to freezing temperatures. — Plant Cell Environ. 23: 893–902, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Xiong, F.S., Mueller, E.C., Day, T.A.: Photosynthetic and respiratory acclimation and growth response of Antarctic vascular plants to contrasting temperature regimes. — Amer. J. Bot. 87: 700–710, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yamori, W., Noguchi, K., Terashima, I.: Temperature acclimation of photosynthesis in spinach leaves: analyses of photosynthetic components and temperature dependencies of photosynthetic partial reactions. — Plant Cell Environ. 28: 536–547, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhang, Y.Q., Welker, J.M.: Tibetan alpine tundra responses to simulated changes in climate: Aboveground biomass and community responses. — Arctic Alpine Res. 28: 203–209, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zhou, H.K., Zhou, X.M., Zhao, X.Q.: A preliminary study of the influence of simulated greenhouse effect on a Kobresia humilis meadow. — Acta Phytoecol. Sinica 24: 547–553, 2000.Google Scholar
  57. Zhou, X.H., Liu, X.Z., Wallace, L.L., Luo, Y.Q.: Photosynthetic and respiratory acclimation to experimental warming for four species in a tallgrass prairie ecosystem. — J. Integr. Plant Biol. 49: 270–281, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ECORES Lab, Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations