Moss patch size and microhabitats influence stoichiometry of moss crusts in a temperate desert, Central Asia
Background and aims
Desert mosses, which are important stabilizers in desert ecosystems, are distributed patchily as biological soil crusts in arid lands. Patch size and microhabitats of moss are affected by human activities in deserts, such as grazing, oil exploration, and reclamation. Moss patches as a microecosystem, is a functional unit. It is not clear how patch size of moss influences the stoichiometry of moss and soil. We examined the effects of moss patches of different sizes on moss and soil stoichiometry, and moss growth strategies in different microhabitats.
The dominant moss (Syntrichia caninervis Mitt.) of biological soil crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert was selected to study carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) contents in moss patches. Soil inside and under the moss patches was analyzed from open areas and under the canopy of living shrubs. The C, N, and P stoichiometry of the moss and soil, and soil enzyme activities were measured.
The effects of patch size on C, N, and P characteristics were microhabitat dependent. Moss N content in above-ground parts, moss C, N, and P contents in below-ground parts, and sucrase activity in soil under moss patches significantly increased with increase in patch size in open areas. Under the canopy of living shrubs, patch size had no significant influence on moss C, N, and P contents, soil nutrient contents, and soil enzyme activities. Patch size effects were stronger for moss and soil C, N, and P characteristics in open areas than those under the canopy of living shrubs. Moss N and P contents in above-ground parts were significantly higher than those in below-ground parts, whereas moss C:N and C:P ratios in above-ground parts were significantly lower than those in below-ground parts. Moss C, N, and P stoichiometry was weakly correlated with soil nutrient contents and enzyme activities. Structural equation modeling showed that the models for C, N, and P cycling differed between open areas and under the canopy of living shrubs. The effects of patch size on the multifunctionality of the moss microecosystem were regulated by microhabitats.
Increase in patch size benefits moss growth more in open areas than under the canopy of living shrubs. Shrubs provide a protected environment for moss plants and drive moss growth. Above-ground parts of mosses host more functions essential for growth and photosynthesis than below-ground parts of moss patches in a temperate desert. Patch size accounted for positive effects of moss stoichiometry in open areas. Patch size may influence the ecological function of moss patches. Shrubs dominantly drive moss growth compared with patch size effects.
KeywordsEcological stoichiometry Moss crust Patch size Nutrient island Microhabitats Soil stoichiometry Soil enzyme
We would like to thank Jing Zhang and Bing-Jian Zhu, for their assistance with sample collecting in field. This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571256, 41471251, 41771299) and Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (2015356).
- Aerts R, Chapin FS (2000) The mineral nutrition of wild plants revisited: a re-evaluation of processes and patterns. Adv Water Resour 30:1–67Google Scholar
- Bao S (2000) Soil and agricultural chemistry analysis, 1st edn. China Agriculture Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Bates JW (2000) Mineral nutrition, substratum ecology, and pollution. In: Shaw AJ, Goffinet B (eds) Bryophyte biology. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 225–247Google Scholar
- Brzostek ER, Blair JM, Dukes JS, Frey SD, Hobbie SE, Melillo JM, Mitchell RJ, Pendall E, Reich PB, Shaver GR, Stefanski A, Tjoelker MG, Finzi AC (2012) The effect of experimental warming and precipitation change on proteolytic enzyme activity: positive feedbacks to nitrogen availability are not universal. Glob Chang Biol 18:2617–2625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Delgado-Baquerizo M, Maestre FT, Eldridge DJ, Bowker MA, Ochoa V, Gozalo B, Berdugo M, Val J, Singh BK (2016) Biocrust-forming mosses mitigate the negative impacts of increasing aridity on ecosystem multifunctionality in drylands. New Phytol 209:1540–1552. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.13688 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Di Palo F, Fornara DA (2017) Plant and soil nutrient stoichiometry along primary ecological successions: is there any link? PLoS One 12Google Scholar
- Duponnois R, Ouahmane L, Kane A, Thioulouse J, Hafidi M, Boumezzough A, Prin Y, Baudoin E, Galiana A, Dreyfus B (2011) Nurse shrubs increased the early growth of Cupressus seedlings by enhancing belowground mutualism and soil microbial activity. Soil Biol Biochem 43:2160–2168Google Scholar
- Falkowski P, Scholes RJ, Boyle E, Canadell J, Canfield D, Elser J, Gruber N, Hibbard K, Hogberg P, Linder S, Mackenzie FT, Moore B, Pedersen T, Rosenthal Y, Seitzinger S, Smetacek V, Steffen W (2000) The global carbon cycle: a test of our knowledge of earth as a system. Science 290:291–296CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Ji XH (2012) Study of patch effect of moss crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert. University of Chinese Academy of SciencesGoogle Scholar
- Ji XH, Zhang YM, Tao Y, Zhou XB, Zhang J (2013) Size characteristic of moss crust pathes and its relationship to the evironmental factors in Gurbantunggut Desert. J Desert Res 33:1803–1809 (In Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
- Ji XH, Zhang YM, Zhou XB, Wu L, Zhang J (2014) Spatial distribution of soil properties covered by moss crusts on different scales. Acta Ecol Sin 34:4006–4016 (In Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
- Keiblinger KM, Schneider T, Roschitzki B, Schmid E, Eberl L, Hammerle I, Leitner S, Richter A, Wanek W, Riedel K, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S (2012) Effects of stoichiometry and temperature perturbations on beech leaf litter decomposition, enzyme activities and protein expression. Biogeosciences 9:4537–4551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Klemmedson J O BRC (1975). Distribution and Balance of Biomass and Nutrients in Desert Shrub Ecosystems. U.S. International Biological Program, Desert Biome, Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Reports of 1974 Progress, Volume 3: Process Studies, RM 75–5.Google Scholar
- Laurance WF, Nascimento HEM, Laurance SG, Andrade A, Ribeiro JELS, Giraldo JP, Lovejoy TE, Condit R, Chave J, Harms KE, D'Angelo S (2006) Rapid decay of tree-community composition in Amazonian forest fragmentsGoogle Scholar
- Laurance WF, Camargo JLC, Luizao RCC, Laurance SG, Pimm SL, Bruna EM, Stouffer PC, Williamson GB, Benitez-Malvido J, Vasconcelos HL, Van Houtan KS, Zartman CE, Boyle SA, Didham RK, Andrade A, Lovejoy TE (2011) The fate of Amazonian forest fragments: a 32-year investigation. Biol Conserv 144:56–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Li Y, Wu JS, Liu SL, Shen JL, Huang DY, Su YR, Wei WX, Syers JK (2012) Is the C:N:P stoichiometry in soil and soil microbial biomass related to the landscape and land use in southern subtropical China? Glob Biogeochem Cycles 26Google Scholar
- Mendes CP, Ribeiro MC, Galetti- M (2016) Patch size, shape and edge distance influence seed predation on a palm species in the Atlantic forest. Ecography 39: 465–475Google Scholar
- Pan Z, Pitt WG, Zhang YM, Wu N, Tao Y, Truscott TT (2016) The upside-down water collection system of Syntrichia caninervis. Nature Plants 2Google Scholar
- Scanlon TM, Caylor KK, Levin SA, Rodriguez-Iturbe, I (2007) Positive feedbacks promote power-law clustering of Kalahari vegetation Nature 449: 209-214Google Scholar
- Wu L, Zhang YM (2013) Coverage estimation on biological soil crust based on digital photos. J Desert Res 33:1810–1815 (In Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
- Yin BF, Zhang YM, Lou AR (2017) Impacts of the removal of shrubs on the physiological and biochemical characteristics of Syntrichia caninervis mitt: in a temperate desert. Sci Rep 7Google Scholar
- Zhou DC (1983) The main physiological functions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in plant and the absorption of nutrients by plants. Biol Bull 5:7–8Google Scholar
- Zhou HF, Zhou BJ, Dai Q (2010) Observational analysis of rime condensation on plants over the Gurbantünggut desert in China. Adv Water Resour 21:56–62Google Scholar