Advertisement

Response of plant functional traits of Leymus chinensis to extreme drought in Inner Mongolia grasslands

  • Xiyuan Yue
  • Xiaoan Zuo
  • Qiang Yu
  • Chong Xu
  • Peng Lv
  • Jing Zhang
  • Alan K. Knapp
  • Melinda D. Smith
Article

Abstract

Understanding the effects of climate change, in particular, climate extremes on plant functional traits can provide a mechanistic basis for predicting how plant communities may be altered in the future. Here, we focused on a dominant species in Inner-Mongolia typical temperate steppe, Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvei, to examine the responses of plant functional traits to experimentally imposed extreme drought at three sites along an aridity gradient. When comparing the driest (high aridity) to the wettest sites (low aridity), plant height, leaf dry matter content and δ13C (water use efficiency) were increased at the intermediate and low aridity sites, whereas specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen content were reduced at the high-aridity site. When extreme drought (~ 66% reduction in the growing season precipitation) was experimentally imposed at all sites, plant height decreased and δ13C of L. chinensis increased at the intermediate and low aridity sites. The extreme drought of 66% precipitation reduction also increased leaf dry matter content in high- and low-aridity sites. Compared to the control (ambient precipitation), extreme drought increased the strength of the positive association between plant height and δ13C, as well as the negative associations of specific leaf area with plant height and leaf dry matter content. Thus, extreme drought altered key functional traits of the dominant grass of Inner Mongolia steppe, particularly at the low-aridity site where the drought decreased plant size and increased water use efficiency and affected relationships between these traits.

Keywords

Climate extremes Precipitation gradient Leaf nitrogen content Specific leaf area Typical steppe 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank all the members of Urat Desert-grassland Research Station, Inner Mongolia Grassland Ecosystem Research Station (IMGERS), and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), for their help with field work. This paper was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41622103, 41571106 and 41320104002) and China national key research and development plan (2016YFC0500506).

Supplementary material

11258_2018_887_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)

References

  1. Ahlström A, Raupach M, Schurgers G, Smith B, Arneth A, Jung M, Reichstein M, Canadell JG, Friedlingstein P, Jain AK, Kato E, Poulter B, Sitch S, Stocker B, Viovy N, Wang Y, Wiltshire A, Zaehle S, Zeng N (2015) The dominant role of semi-arid ecosystems in the trend and variability of the land CO2 sink. Science 348:895–899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baghalian K, Abdoshah S, Khalighi-Sigaroodi F, Paknejad F (2011) Physiological and phytochemical response to drought stress of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.). Plant Physiol Biochem 49:201–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bai YF, Han XG, Wu JG, Chen ZZ, Li LH (2004) Ecosystem stability and compensatory effects in the Inner Mongolia grassland. Nature 431:181–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bai W, Fang Y, Zhou M, Xie T, Li L, Zhang W-H (2015) Heavily intensified grazing reduces root production in an Inner Mongolia temperate steppe. Agric Ecosyst Environ 200:143–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett JA, Riibak K, Tamme R, Lewis RJ, Partel M (2016) The reciprocal relationship between competition and intraspecific trait variation. J Ecol 104:1410–1420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cherwin K, Knapp A (2012) Unexpected patterns of sensitivity to drought in three semi-arid grasslands. Oecologia 169:845–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cook BI, Ault TR, Smerdon JE (2015) Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains. Sci Adv 1:e1400082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cornelissen J, Lavorel S, Garnier E, Diaz S, Buchmann N, Gurvich D, Reich P, Ter Steege H, Morgan H, Van Der Heijden M (2003) A handbook of protocols for standardised and easy measurement of plant functional traits worldwide. Aust J Bot 51:335–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Debouk H, De Bello F, Sebastià M-T (2015) Functional trait changes, productivity shifts and vegetation stability in mountain grasslands during a short-term warming. PLoS ONE 10:e0141899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deleglise C, Meisser M, Mosimann E, Spiegelberger T, Signarbieux C, Jeangros B, Buttler A (2015) Drought-induced shifts in plants traits, yields and nutritive value under realistic grazing and mowing managements in a mountain grassland. Agric Ecosyst Environ 213:94–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Forrestel EJ, Donoghue MJ, Edwards EJ, Jetz W, Du Toit JCO, Smith MD (2017) Different clades and traits yield similar grassland functional responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:705–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gao R, Yang X, Liu G, Huang Z, Walck JL (2015) Effects of rainfall pattern on the growth and fecundity of a dominant dune annual in a semi-arid ecosystem. Plant Soil 389:335–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Griffith DM, Quigley KM, Anderson TM (2016) Leaf thickness controls variation in leaf mass per area (LMA) among grazing-adapted grasses in Serengeti. Oecologia 181:1035–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heisler-White JL, Knapp AK, Kelly EF (2008) Increasing precipitation event size increases aboveground net primary productivity in a semi-arid grassland. Oecologia 158:129–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huang JH, Bai YF, Jiang Y, Squires VR, Lu XS, Lu Q, Wang T, Yang YL (2009) Case study 3: Xilingol grassland, Inner Mongolia. Rangel Degrad Recovery Chinas Pastor Lands 8:273–279Google Scholar
  16. Huang J, Xue Y, Sun S, Zhang J (2015) Spatial and temporal variability of drought during 1960–2012 in Inner Mongolia, north China. Quat Int 355:134–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ichii K, Kawabata A, Yamaguchi Y (2002) Global correlation analysis for NDVI and climatic variables and NDVI trends: 1982–1990. Int J Remote Sens 23:3873–3878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. IPCC (2012) Summary for policymakers. In: Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation, Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. IPCC (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1535 ppGoogle Scholar
  20. Kalapos T, Boogaard R, Lambers H (1996) Effect of soil drying on growth, biomass allocation and leaf gas exchange of two annual grass species. Plant Soil 185:137–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kano-Nakata M, Tatsumi J, Inukai Y, Asanuma S, Yamauchi A (2014) Effect of various intensities of drought stress on δ13C variation among plant organs in rice: comparison of two cultivars. Am J Plant Sci 5:1686–1693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kenney AM, Mckay JK, Richards JH, Juenger TE (2014) Direct and indirect selection on flowering time, water-use efficiency (WUE, δ13C), and WUE plasticity to drought in Arabidopsis thaliana. Ecol Evol 4:4505–4521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Knapp AK, Carroll CJW, Denton EM, La Pierre KJ, Collins SL, Smith MD (2015) Differential sensitivity to regional-scale drought in six central us grasslands. Oecologia 177:949–957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Knapp AK, Ciais P, Smith MD (2017) Reconciling inconsistencies in precipitation–productivity relationships: implications for climate change. New Phytol 214:41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kreyling J, Khan MAA, Sultana F, Babel W, Beierkuhnlein C, Foken T, Walter J, Jentsch A (2017) Drought effects in climate change manipulation experiments: quantifying the influence of ambient weather conditions and rain-out shelter artifacts. Ecosystems 20:301–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. La Pierre KJ, Smith MD (2015) Functional trait expression of grassland species shift with short- and long-term nutrient additions. Plant Ecol 216:307–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li C (1999) Carbon isotope composition, water-use efficiency and biomass productivity of Eucalyptus microtheca populations under different water supplies. Plant Soil 214:165–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu G, Li X, Qi D, Chen S, Chen L (2016) Evaluation and utilization of Leymus chinensis germplasm resources (in Chinese). Chin Sci Bull 61:271–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ma F, Na X, Xu T (2016) Drought responses of three closely related Caragana species: implication for their vicarious distribution. Ecol Evol 6:2763–2773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Májeková M, De Bello F, Doležal J, Lepš J (2014) Plant functional traits as determinants of population stability. Ecology 95:2369–2374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mariotte P, Vandenberghe C, Hagedorn F, Buttler A (2013) Subordinate plant species enhance community insurance to drought in semi-natural grasslands. J Ecol 101:763–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marron N, Dreyer E, Boudouresque E, Delay D, Petit J-M, Delmotte FM, Brignolas F (2003) Impact of successive drought and re-watering cycles on growth and specific leaf area of two populus × canadensis (Moench) clones, ‘dorskamp’ and ‘luisa_avanzo’. Tree Physiol 23:1225–1235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mu SJ, Chen YZ, Li JL, Ju WM, Odeh IOA, Zou XL (2013) Grassland dynamics in response to climate change and human activities in Inner Mongolia, China between 1985 and 2009. Rangel J 35:315–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Naudts K, Van Den Berge J, Janssens IA, Nijs I, Ceulemans R (2011) Does an extreme drought event alter the response of grassland communities to a changing climate? Environ Exp Bot 70:151–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Navas ML, Roumet C, Bellmann A, Laurent G, Garnier E (2010) Suites of plant traits in species from different stages of a Mediterranean secondary succession. Plant Biol 12:183–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Oyarzabal M, Paruelo JM, Del Pino F, Oesterheld M, Lauenroth WK (2008) Trait differences between grass species along a climatic gradient in South and North America. J Veg Sci 19:183–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Poulter B, Frank D, Ciais P, Myneni RB, Andela N, Bi J, Broquet G, Canadell JG, Chevallier F, Liu YY, Running SW, Sitch S, Van Der Werf GR (2014) Contribution of semi-arid ecosystems to interannual variability of the global carbon cycle. Nature 509:600–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Prasolova N, Xu Z, Farquhar G, Saffigna PG, Dieters MJ (2000) Variation in branchlet δ13C in relation to branchlet nitrogen concentration and growth in 8-year-old hoop pine families (Araucaria cunninghamii) in subtropical Australia. Tree Physiol 20:1049–1055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rosbakh S, Römermann C, Poschlod P (2015) Specific leaf area correlates with temperature: new evidence of trait variation at the population, species and community levels. Alpine Bot 125:79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Santiago LS, Kitajima K, Wright SJ, Mulkey SS (2004) Coordinated changes in photosynthesis, water relations and leaf nutritional traits of canopy trees along a precipitation gradient in lowland tropical forest. Oecologia 139:495–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sarangi D, Irmak S, Lindquist JL, Knezevic SZ, Jhala AJ (2016) Effect of water stress on the growth and fecundity of common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis). Weed Sci 64:42–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schulze E-D, Turner NC, Nicolle D, Schumacher J (2006) Leaf and wood carbon isotope ratios, specific leaf areas and wood growth of Eucalyptus species across a rainfall gradient in Australia. Tree Physiol 26:479–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tielborger K, Bilton MC, Metz J, Kigel J, Holzapfel C, Lebrija-Trejos E, Konsens I, Parag HA, Sternberg M (2014) Middle-eastern plant communities tolerate 9 years of drought in a multi-site climate manipulation experiment. Nat Commun 5:5102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ullah U, Ashraf M, Shahzad S, Siddiqui A, Piracha M, Suleman M (2016) Growth behavior of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) under drought stress in the presence of silicon and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. Soil Environ 35:65–75Google Scholar
  45. Violle C, Navas ML, Vile D, Kazakou E, Fortunel C, Hummel I, Garnier E (2007) Let the concept of trait be functional! Oikos 116:882–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wang R, Gao Q (2004) Morphological responses of Leymus chinensis (Poaceae) to the large-scale climatic gradient along the North-east China transect (NECT). Divers Distrib 10:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wang L, Yang J, Ma F, Yang Y, Chang C, Cui C (2009) Effect of aridification on the replacement of zonic species, Stipa baicalensis Roshev., by azonic species, Leymus chinensis tzvel., in the steppe of China. Bull Environ Contamin Toxicol 83:548–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yang H, Auerswald K, Bai Y, Han X (2011) Complementarity in water sources among dominant species in typical steppe ecosystems of Inner Mongolia, China. Plant Soil 340:303–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zheng SX, Ren HY, Lan ZC, Li WH, Wang KB, Bai YF (2010) Effects of grazing on leaf traits and ecosystem functioning in Inner Mongolia grasslands: scaling from species to community. Biogeosciences 6:1117–1132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhuang L, Chen Y, Li W, Wang Z (2011) Anatomical and morphological characteristics of Populus euphratica in the lower reaches of tarim river under extreme drought environment. J Arid Land 3:261–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urat Desert-grassland Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of ScienceLanzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.National Hulunber Grassland Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and TechnologyLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  5. 5.Department of Biology, Graduate Degree Program in EcologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations