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The Concentration of Non-structural Carbohydrates, N, and P in Quercus variabilis Does Not Decline Toward Its Northernmost Distribution Range Along a 1500 km Transect in China.


ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms that determine plant distribution range is crucial for predicting climate-driven range shifts. Compared to altitudinal gradients, less attention has been paid to the mechanisms that determine latitudinal range limit. To test whether intrinsic resource limitation contributes to latitudinal range limits of woody species, we investigated the latitudinal variation in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC; i.e., total soluble sugar plus starch) and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in mature and juvenile Chinese cork oak (Quercus variabilis Blume) along a 1500 km north-south transect in China. During the growing season and dormant season, leaves, branches, and fine roots were collected from both mature and juvenile oaks in seven sites along the transect. Tissue concentration of NSCs, N, and P did not decrease with increasing latitude irrespective of sampling season and ontogenetic stage. Furthermore, higher levels of NSCs and N in tissues of juveniles relative to mature trees were found during the dormant season. Partial correlation analysis also revealed that during the dormant season, soluble sugar, NSC, the ratio of soluble sugar to starch, and tissue nitrogen concentration were correlated positively with latitude but negatively with precipitation and mean temperature of dormant season. Our results suggest that carbon or nutrient availability may not be the driving factors of the latitudinal range limit of the studied species. Further studies should be carried out at the community or ecosystem level with multiple species to additionally test the roles of factors such as regeneration, competition, and disturbance in determining a species' northern distribution limit.

SUBMITTER: Liu JF 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6199963 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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