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Effects of taxonomy, sediment, and water column on C:N:P stoichiometry of submerged macrophytes in Yangtze floodplain shallow lakes, China


Carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the three most important essential elements limiting growth of primary producers. Submerged macrophytes generally absorb nutrients from sediments by root uptake. However, the C:N:P stoichiometric signatures of plant tissue are affected by many additional factors such as taxonomy, nutrient availability, and light availability. We first revealed the relative importance of taxonomy, sediment, and water column on plant C:N:P stoichiometry using variance partitioning based on partial redundancy analyses. Results showed that taxonomy was the most important factor in determining C:N:P stoichiometry, then the water column and finally the sediment. In this study, a significant positive relationship was found between community C concentration and macrophyte community biomass, indicating that the local low C availability in macrophytes probably was the main reason why submerged macrophytes declined in Yangtze floodplain shallow lakes. Based on our study, it is suggested that submerged macrophytes in Yangtze floodplain shallow lakes are primarily limited by low light levels rather than nutrient availability.

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This work was supported by grant from the State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology (grant number 2014FBZ02).

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Correspondence to Ping Xie.

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Su, H., Wu, Y., Xie, P. et al. Effects of taxonomy, sediment, and water column on C:N:P stoichiometry of submerged macrophytes in Yangtze floodplain shallow lakes, China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 22577–22585 (2016).

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  • Submerged macrophyte
  • Sediment
  • Water column
  • C:N:P stoichiometry
  • Eutrophication