Leaf area ratio and net assimilation rate of 24 wild species differing in RGR

Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Oecologia (Impact Factor: 3.09). 06/1990; 83(4):553-559. DOI: 10.1007/BF00317209


Which factors cause fast-growing plant species to achieve a higher relative growth rate than slow-growing ones? To answer this question 24 wild species were grown from seed in a growth chamber under conditions of optimal nutrient supply and a growth analysis was carried out. Mean relative growth rate, corrected for possible ontogenetic drift, ranged from 113 to 356 mg g–1 day–1. Net assimilation rate, the increase in plant dry weight per unit leaf area and unit time, varied two-fold between species but no correlation with relative growth rate was found. The correlation between leaf area ratio, the ratio between total leaf area and total plant weight, and relative growth rate was very high. This positive correlation was mainly due to the specific leaf area, the ratio between leaf area and leaf weight, and to a lesser extent caused by the leaf weight ratio, the fraction of plant biomass allocated to the leaves. Differences in relative growth rate under conditions of optimum nutrient supply were correlated with the soil fertility in the natural habitat of these species. It is postulated that natural selection in a nutrient-rich environment has favoured species with a high specific leaf area and a high leaf weight ratio, and consequently a high leaf area ratio, whereas selection in nutrient-poor habitats has led to species with an inherently low specific leaf area and a higher fraction of root mass, and thus a low leaf area ratio.

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    • "In general, the herbaceous plants exhibit clustering in space due to the concentration difference of nutrient elements. Nutrient-rich environment favored species with a high specific leaf area to high leaf weight ratio (Poorter and Remkes 1990). Our study implicated that the clustering might be progressively strengthened by the individual difference in total leaf area per plant, because it might lead to the aggravation of spatial heterogeneity of nutrient gradient in soil due to the difference of individual photosynthesis efficiency. "
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between spatial density and size of plants is an important topic in plant ecology. The self-thinning rule suggests a −3/2 power between average biomass and density or a −1/2 power between stand yield and density. However, the self-thinning rule based on total leaf area per plant and density of plants has been neglected presumably because of the lack of a method that can accurately estimate the total leaf area per plant. We aimed to find the relationship between spatial density of plants and total leaf area per plant. We also attempted to provide a novel model for accurately describing the leaf shape of bamboos. We proposed a simplified Gielis equation with only two parameters to describe the leaf shape of bamboos one model parameter represented the overall ratio of leaf width to leaf length. Using this method, we compared some leaf parameters (leaf shape, number of leaves per plant, ratio of total leaf weight to aboveground weight per plant, and total leaf area per plant) of four bamboo species of genus Indocalamus Nakai (I. pedalis (Keng) P.C. Keng, I. pumilus Q.H. Dai and C.F. Keng, I. barbatus McClure, and I. victorialis P.C. Keng). We also explored the possible correlation between spatial density and total leaf area per plant using log-linear regression. We found that the simplified Gielis equation fit the leaf shape of four bamboo species very well. Although all these four species belonged to the same genus, there were still significant differences in leaf shape. Significant differences also existed in leaf area per plant, ratio of leaf weight to aboveground weight per plant, and leaf length. In addition, we found that the total leaf area per plant decreased with increased spatial density. Therefore, we directly demonstrated the self-thinning rule to improve light interception.
    Ecology and Evolution 09/2015; DOI:10.1002/ece3.1728 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    • "Specific leaf area (SLA, one-sided leaf area per unit of dry mass) is one of the most frequently used functional traits in ecological studies. Due to its positive and linear scaling with the relative growth rate of plants (Poorter and Remkes 1990; Hunt and Cornelissen 1997; Villar et al. 2005), SLA has been considered in both theoretical and applied studies as a key trait explaining the distribution of species along environmental gradients (Lavorel et al. 1997; Garnier et al. 2004; Poorter et al. 2009). SLA values have been found to be dependent on differences in irradiation levels (Meziane and Shipley 2001), soil fertility (Poorter and De Jong 1999; Garnier et al. 2004), water supply (Reich et al. 1999), atmospheric carbon dioxide (Larigauderie et al. 1988), ozone concentrations (Bussotti 2008), disturbance (Kleyer 1999) and land-use types (Diaz et al. 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although specific leaf area (SLA) has been proposed to reflect plant responses to climatic changes, the link between SLA and temperature has never been systematically evaluated. Using in situ measured SLA values for 223 species occurring in 29 calcareous grasslands along a temperature gradient in the Bavarian Alps, we explored the SLA–temperature relationship at population (intraspecific), species (interspecific) and community level and investigated the relative impact of other environmental factors on SLA variation along the temperature gradient at the community level. Only 14 % of the studied species showed significant changes in their SLA values along the temperature gradient, despite high intraspecific variability of the SLA values. At the species level, we revealed a very weak positive SLA–temperature relationship (r2 = 0.04, p < 0.001). A very strong positive correlation between SLA and temperature was detected at the community level (r2 = 0.70, p < 0.001). In addition to temperature, disturbance also had a significant influence on trait variation at the community level. We conclude that the variation in SLA along the temperature gradient comes primarily from changes in the relative abundances of species, whereas the trait variation at the population and the species levels was affected by other environmental factors. We therefore recommend the use of community-weighted mean values in studies employing SLA–temperature relationships because they reveal more regular patterns than the underlying distribution of within- and among-site SLA values.
    Alpine Botany 07/2015; 125(2). DOI:10.1007/s00035-015-0150-6 · 1.46 Impact Factor
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    • "This may suggest that these traits have a better potential to predict discharge species occurrence, especially since the p-value of these models suggested a trend (p=0.067 for RP and p=0.095 for RGR). It should be noted though that RGR is also related to nutrient availability (Grime and Hunt, 1975, Poorter and Remkes, 1990, Lambers and Poorter, 1992) and does not only represent the iron tolerance of a species Together, our study shows that, in the non-coastal zone of the Netherlands and for the current sets of traits studied, the amount of available nutrients and phosphorus are important drivers distinguishing characteristic groundwater discharge plant communities from other wet communities. Although the significance of these abiotic conditions at groundwater discharge sites is not new, this is the first time that an effect for the associated traits of discharge vs. recharge species is shown. "
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    ABSTRACT: Groundwater discharge sites harbor characteristic and often rare plant communities which differ substantially from groundwater recharge sites. It is not known which abiotic conditions at these sites drive the differences in community composition. A trait-based approach, that relates species traits to abiotic conditions, may provide insight in this relationship and improve conservation management of these characteristic communities. We used this approach to identify (i) dominant abiotic conditions that shape plant communities at discharge sites and to (ii) identify characteristic traits associated with these abiotic conditions. First, we performed a (qualitative) literature survey to relate plant traits to various abiotic conditions at discharge sites. Secondly, we performed a meta-analysis to quantitatively test the trait selection at discharge sites. For the meta-analysis we compiled a species discharge preference database (n = 170), based on literature and field data. We performed linear regression to relate traits to species discharge preference. Only five out of the eleven traits tested (low leaf phosphorus content, high leaf N:P, low rate of clonal reproduction, low maximum height and high seed mass) were significantly related to discharge preference, while the explained variance was low (R2 < 0.09). Our results suggest that (i) despite the inclusion of traits specifically related to prevailing local environmental conditions, beyond commonly applied traits, hardly any differences were revealed. This indicates a need for more comprehensive eco-physiological understanding (and information on the selection of combinations of traits), and ii) a trait-based approach may not be highly distinctive in environments differing in only a few specific characteristics. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Ecohydrology 06/2015; DOI:10.1002/eco.1655 · 2.43 Impact Factor
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