Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology (植物生态学报) 2012/36:11 PP.1136-1144
Aims Plant leaf stoichiometry plays critical roles in the photosynthesis rate, growth rate, dynamics of food chains and biogeochemical cycles. Although previous research showed that nitrogen has a scaling relationship with phosphorus, the relationship between elements besides nitrogen and phosphorus rarely have been studied. This project was to explore the scaling relationships between leaf elements (i.e., Fe, Ca, P, N, S, K) at an arid-hot valley. Methods Leaf samples were collected from 51 plots located 1000–1400 m above sea level in the arid-hot val-ley of Jinsha River. Biomass in plots was sorted by species and measured. Leaf elemental contents of 107 samples were qualified. Relationships among these biogenetic elements were analyzed by standard major axis at both plot and individual levels. Important findings There were always positive scaling relationships between studied elements when they were significantly correlated. The power law exponents derived from log-log scaling relations were near 2/3 for nitro-gen relative to phosphorus at the plot level. The power law exponents for iron to N, P, K were >2 at the individual level. The rank of increasing rate in scaling relationships was Fe > Ca > P > N > S > K at the individual level. However, it was Fe > Ca > P > S > K > N at the plot level. We found that iron might be an important element in plant growth in the arid-hot valley for the higher increasing rate of investment in iron versus other elements. The differences in scaling relationships among elemental concentrations between the individual and plot levels suggest that community assembly process has an important role in determining plant stoichiometry at different levels of organization.
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