Effects of plant intraspecific variation on the prediction of C3/C4 vegetation ratio from carbon isotope composition of topsoil organic matter across grasslands

Luo, Wentao, Wang, Xiaoguang, Auerswald, Karl, Wang, Zhengwen, Bird, Michael I., Still, Christopher J., Lü, Xiao Tao, and Han, Xingguo (2021) Effects of plant intraspecific variation on the prediction of C3/C4 vegetation ratio from carbon isotope composition of topsoil organic matter across grasslands. Journal of Plant Ecology, 14 (4). pp. 628-637.

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Aims: Understanding the patterns and drivers of carbon isotope discrimination (13Δ) in C3 and C4 functional groups is critical for predicting C3/C4 vegetation ratio from the isotopic composition of soil organic matter. In this study, we aimed to evaluate how intraspecific variation will modify functional group-level 13Δ values and the associated prediction of C3/C4 vegetation ratio.

Methods: We investigated 13Δ of 726 individual plants (96 species; C3 and C4 functional groups) and topsoil organic matter in 26 grassland communities along an aridity gradient in northern China. The fraction of C4 contribution was calculated with mixing models that considered: (i) both intra- and interspecific effects on the 13Δ values of C3 and C4 functional groups; (ii) only interspecific effects; or (iii) none of these effects.

Important Findings: We found divergent responses of plant 13Δ at the intraspecific level to the changes of aridity across the gradient. The 13Δ of both C3 and C4 functional groups was negatively correlated with an aridity index, with higher sensitivity for C3 than for C4 functional groups. Intraspecific 13Δ variation played a key role in driving the total 13Δ variations of C3 plants. Overlooking such intraspecific effect in mixing models led to a greatly increased fraction of C4 contribution to soil organic carbon. A correction for the effects of intraspecific variation is therefore essential for correctly inferring C3/C4 vegetation ratio in the past. Our findings provide basic information for the reconstruction of past vegetation change from bulk materials in arid and semiarid biomes.

摘要 植物种内变异对草地表层有机质碳同位素组成预测C3/C4植被比的影响 植物群落中C3和C4植物的比例和组成对诸多生态系统过程具有重要影响。解析C3和C4植物碳同位素的环境驱动过程与调控因子,对于从土壤碳同位素的角度来预测C3/C4植被比和组成具有重要意义。本研究旨在评估草原植物碳同位素特征的种内变异将如何影响C3和C4植物的碳同位素组成以及C3/C4植被比的预测。沿中国北方草原的自然干旱梯度选择26个植物群落,通过分析植物和土壤的碳同位素组成,采用混合模型来预测C4植物对土壤有机碳的相对贡献。本研究对比分析了如下3种情境:(1)考虑C3和C4植物碳同位素的种内和种间效应;(2)仅考虑碳同位素的种间变异;(3)忽略碳同位素的种内和种间变异。研究结果表明,植物碳同位素组成沿中国北方草原自然干旱梯度的变化具有物种特异性。C3和C4植物的碳同位素组成与干旱指数之间呈显著负相关关系,但C3植物比C4植物对环境的干旱变化更为敏感。植物碳同位素特征的种内变异在驱动C3植物功能群碳同位素沿干旱梯度的分布格局中发挥着重要作用。如果忽略植物碳同位素特征的种内变异将会显著高估C4植物的相对贡献。本研究结果表明,草原植物碳同位素特征的种内变异对于准确预测C3/C4植被组成具有重要意义。

Item ID: 70225
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1752-993X
Keywords: arid and semiarid grasslands, interspecific variation, intraspecific variation, soil organic matter, two-member mixing models, vegetation ratio
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Botanical Society of China. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
Additional Information:

Abstract in English and Chinese. Full text in English.

Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2021 05:23
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3703 Geochemistry > 370303 Isotope geochemistry @ 60%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410604 Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280111 Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences @ 100%
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