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Invariant allometric scaling of nitrogen and phosphorus in leaves, stems, and fine roots of woody plants along an altitudinal gradient

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (P) allocation in plant organs is of particular interest, as both elements are important to regulate plant growth. We analyzed the scaling relationship of N and P in leaves, stems and fine roots of 224 plant species along an altitudinal transect (500–2,300 m) on the northern slope of Changbai Mountain, China. We tested whether the scaling relationships of N and P were conserved in response to environmental variations. We found that the N and P concentrations of the leaves, stems and fine roots decreased, whereas the N:P ratios increased with increasing altitude. Allometric scaling relationships of N and P were found in the leaves, stems and fine roots, with allometric exponents of 0.78, 0.71 and 0.87, respectively. An invariant allometric scaling of N and P in the leaves, stems and fine roots was detected for woody plants along the altitudinal gradient. These results may advance our understanding of plant responses to climate change, and provide a basis for practical implication of various ecological models.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China [No. 31290221], and the Program for “Kezhen” Distinguished Talents in Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS. We thank teachers and students of Beihua University of China for field sampling assistance and the staff of Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling of IGSNRR, CAS for laboratory analysis.

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Correspondence to Guirui Yu or Nianpeng He.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 3, 4, 5.

Table 3 Model summary for the stepwise multiple regression of stoichiometric traits on two climatic variables (MAP and MAT)
Table 4 Model summary for the stepwise multiple regression of stoichiometric traits on four soil variables (STN, STP, SAN and SAP)
Table 5 Summary of reduced major axis (RMA) regression results for leaves, stems and roots

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Zhao, N., Yu, G., He, N. et al. Invariant allometric scaling of nitrogen and phosphorus in leaves, stems, and fine roots of woody plants along an altitudinal gradient. J Plant Res 129, 647–657 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-016-0805-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-016-0805-4

Keywords

  • Allometry
  • Elevation
  • Life history strategy
  • Nutrient allocation
  • Plant growth form
  • Stoichiometry