Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 4, pp 689–697 | Cite as

Stoichiometry in aboveground and fine roots of Seriphidium korovinii in desert grassland in response to artificial nitrogen addition

  • Lei Li
  • Xiaopeng Gao
  • Dongwei Gui
  • Bo Liu
  • Bo Zhang
  • Xiangyi Li
Regular Paper

Abstract

Nitrogen (N) input by atmospheric deposition and human activity enhances the availability of N in various ecosystems, which may further affect N and phosphorus (P) cycling and use by plants. However, the internal use of N, P, and N:P stoichiometry by plants in response to N supply, particularly for grass species in a desert steppe ecosystem, remains unclear. In this work, a field experiment was conducted at an infertile area in a desert steppe to investigate the effects of N fertilizer addition rates on the stoichiometry of N and P in a dominant grass species, Seriphidium korovinii. Results showed that for both aboveground and fine roots of S. korovinii, N inputs exponentially increased the N concentration and N:P ratios while P concentrations decreased. Meanwhile, the relationships between N and P concentrations for both aboveground and fine roots were significantly negative. Furthermore, while the N concentrations in the plants were relatively low, P concentrations were higher than the global means, resulting in a relatively low N:P ratio. These results suggest that the stoichiometric characteristics of N were different from that of P for this desert plant species. Results also show that the intraspecific variations in the main element traits (N, P, and N:P ratios) were consistent at the whole-plant level. Our results also suggest that N should be part of any short-term fertilization plan that is part of a management strategy designed to restore degraded desert grassland. These findings highlight that nutrient addition by atmospheric N deposition and human activity can have significant effects on the internal use of N and P by plants. Therefore, establishing a nutrient-conservation strategy for desert grasslands is important.

Keywords

Aboveground and fine root Desert grassland Stoichiometry Nutrient concentration N input 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported jointly by the West Light Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2015-XBQN-B-21), the China 1000 Talent Program (Y472171), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31570002, U1603343). We would like to thank Fengli Chen, Jianrong Lu, Gangliang Tang, Zichun Guo, Yang Ma for assistance with field and laboratory work.

Author contributions

LL is responsible for conception and design, analysis, data collection, manuscript write and critical revision of the article and overall responsibility. XG is responsible for critical revision, DG, BL and BZ are responsible for analysis and data collection, XL is responsible for obtained funding.

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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lei Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiaopeng Gao
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dongwei Gui
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bo Liu
    • 5
  • Bo Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xiangyi Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Cele National Station of Observation and Research for Desert-Grassland Ecosystem in XinjiangCeleChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid ZoneChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  4. 4.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  5. 5.College of Resources and EnvironmentLinyi UniversityLinyiChina

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