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Leaf gas exchange and photosynthesis curves of Elymus nutans and Potentilla anserina under fencing and grazing conditions in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China

Abstract

Potentilla anserina L. and Elymus nutans Griseb. are dominant species in the subalpine meadows of China. Grazing is one of the most important factors that influence community structure and productivity of subalpine meadows. Understanding how grazing changes photosynthetic capability is essential for preservation and restoration of grasslands. However, information about the effects of grazing on photosynthetic capability remains inadequate. Experiments were conducted in fencing and grazing areas in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China. The leaf gas exchange and photosynthetic curves of P. anserina and E. nutans were measured at different growth stages. Results showed that grazing decreased the values of leaf gas exchange parameters, such as net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, and intercellular CO2 concentration of P. anserina and E. nutans. In addition, grazing decreased the values of net photosynthetic rate-photosynthetically active radiation (PN-PAR) curve parameters, such as light-saturated net photosynthetic rate, apparent quantum efficiency, light compensation point, light saturation point, and dark respiration rate. Our results demonstrated that grazing was the primary limiting factor for photosynthesis of dominant grassland species in the study area.

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Acknowledgements

The research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91025015, 51178209), and the Project of Arid Meteorological Science Research Foundation of China Meteorological Administration (IAM201608).

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Liu, J., Wang, X., Gao, Y. et al. Leaf gas exchange and photosynthesis curves of Elymus nutans and Potentilla anserina under fencing and grazing conditions in the Qilian Mountains, Northwest China. J. Arid Land 11, 431–445 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0009-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0009-6

Keywords

  • grazing
  • diurnal variation
  • gas exchange
  • Potentilla anserina
  • Elymus nutans
  • photosynthetic capacity