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Stoichiometry in aboveground and fine roots of Seriphidium korovinii in desert grassland in response to artificial nitrogen addition
- Li, Lei, Gao, Xiaopeng, Gui, Dongwei, Liu, Bo, Zhang, Bo, Li, Xiangyi
- Journal of plant research 2017 v.130 no.4 pp. 689-697
- atmospheric deposition, ecosystems, field experimentation, fine roots, grasses, humans, nitrogen, nitrogen content, nitrogen fertilizers, phosphorus, steppes, stoichiometry
- 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.