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Responses in gross primary production of Stipa krylovii and Allium polyrhizum to a temporal rainfall in a temperate grassland of Inner Mongolia, China

Abstract

In the arid and semi-arid areas of China, rainfall and drought affect the growth and photosynthetic activities of plants. Gross primary productivity (GPP) is one of the most important indices that measure the photosynthetic ability of plants. This paper focused on the GPP of two representative grassland species (Stipa krylovii and Allium polyrhizum) to demonstrate the effect of a temporal rainfall on the two species. Our research was conducted in a temperate grassland in New Barag Right Banner, Hulun Buir City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, in a dry year 2015. We measured net ecosystem productivity (NEP) and ecosystem respiration flux (ER) using a transparent chamber system and monitored the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), air and soil temperature and humidity simultaneously. Based on the measured values of NEP and ER, we calculated the GPP of the two species before and after the rainfall. The saturated GPP per aboveground biomass (GPPAGB) of A. polyrhizum remarkably increased from 0.033 (±0.018) to 0.185 (±0.055) µmol CO2/(gdw·s) by 5.6-fold and that of S. krylovii decreased from 0.068 (±0.021) to 0.034 (±0.011) µmol CO2(gdw·s) by 0.5-fold on the 1st and 2nd d after a 9.1 mm rainfall event compared to the values before the rainfall at low temperatures below 35°C. However, on the 1st and 2nd d after the rainfall, both of the saturated GPPAGB values of S. krylovii and A. polyrhizum were significantly lower at high temperatures above 35°C (0.018 (±0.007) and 0.110 (±0.061) µmol CO2/(gdw·s), respectively) than at low temperatures below 35°C (0.034 (±0.011) and 0.185 (±0.055) µmol CO2/(gdw·s), respectively). The results showed that the GPP responses to the temporal rainfall differed between S. krylovii and A. polyrhizum and strongly negative influenced by temperature. The temporal rainfall seems to be more effective on the GPP of A. polyrhizum than S. krylovii. These differences might be related to the different physiological and structural features, the coexistence of the species and their species-specific survival strategies.

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Acknowledgements

This research was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470504, 31670455), the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (grant 23405001) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0500908). We thank Mr. MA Xuping and Mr. ZHANG Xiulong for their kind assistance with field work and valuable suggestions.

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Correspondence to Takashi Kamijo.

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Hu, X., Hirota, M., Wuyunna et al. Responses in gross primary production of Stipa krylovii and Allium polyrhizum to a temporal rainfall in a temperate grassland of Inner Mongolia, China. J. Arid Land 11, 824–836 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-019-0127-1

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Keywords

  • temperate grassland
  • gross primary productivity
  • temporal rainfall
  • survival strategy
  • dry year
  • drought