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Journal of Arid Land  2020, Vol. 12 Issue (5): 741-751    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0014-9
Research article     
Ecological stoichiometry and biomass response of Agropyron michnoi Roshev. under simulated N deposition in a sandy grassland, China
JIN Xiaoming1,*(), YANG Xiaogang1, ZHOU Zhen1, ZHANG Yingqi2, YU Liangbin3, ZHANG Jinghua1, LIANG Runfang3
1Department of Life Science, Hulunbuir University, Hulunbuir 021008, China
2College of Environmental Science, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
3Grassland Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hohhot 010010, China
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Sandy grassland in northern China is a fragile ecosystem with poor soil fertility. Exploring how plant species regulate growth and nutrient absorption under the background of nitrogen (N) deposition is crucial for the management of the sandy grassland ecosystem. We carried out a field experiment with six N levels in the Hulunbuir Sandy Land of China from 2014 to 2016 and explored the Agropyron michnoi Roshev. responses of both aboveground and belowground biomasses and carbon (C), N and phosphorus (P) concentrations in the plant tissues and soil. With increasing N addition, both aboveground and belowground biomasses and C, N and P concentrations in the plant tissues increased and exhibited a single-peak curve. C:N and C:P ratios of the plant tissues first decreased but then increased, while the trend for N:P ratio was opposite. The peak values of aboveground biomass, belowground biomass and C concentration in the plant tissues occurred at the level of 20 g N/(m2·a), while those of N and P concentrations in the plant tissues occurred at the level of 15 g N/(m2·a). The maximum growth percentages of aboveground and belowground biomasses were 324.2% and 75.9%, respectively, and the root to shoot ratio (RSR) decreased with the addition of N. N and P concentrations in the plant tissues were ranked in the order of leaves>roots>stems, while C concentration was ranked as roots>leaves>stems. The increase in N concentration in the plant tissues was the largest (from 34% to 162%), followed by the increase in P (from 10% to 33%) and C (from 8% to 24%) concentrations. The aboveground biomass was positively and linearly correlated with leaf C, N and P, and soil C and N concentrations, while the belowground biomass was positively and linearly correlated with leaf N and soil C concentrations. These results showed that the accumulation of N and P in the leaves caused the increase in the aboveground biomass, while the accumulation of leaf N resulted in the increase in the belowground biomass. N deposition can alter the allocation of C, N and P stoichiometry in the plant tissues and has a high potential for increasing plant biomass, which is conducive to the restoration of sandy grassland.

Key wordsbiomass      nitrogen deposition      plant tissue      C,N and P stoichiometry      sandy grassland     
Received: 02 January 2020      Published: 10 September 2020
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About author: *Corresponding author: JIN Xiaoming (E-mail:
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JIN Xiaoming, YANG Xiaogang, ZHOU Zhen, ZHANG Yingqi, YU Liangbin, ZHANG Jinghua, LIANG Runfang. Ecological stoichiometry and biomass response of Agropyron michnoi Roshev. under simulated N deposition in a sandy grassland, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 741-751.

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Fig. 1 Effects of N addition on plant biomass (a and b) and root to shoot ratio (c). N0, N5, N10, N15, N20 and N25 represent 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 g N/(m2·a) additions, respectively. The abbreviations are the same in Figures 2 and 3. Bars indicate standard errors. Different lowercase letters above the bars indicate significant differences among different N treatments at P<0.05 level.
Fig. 2 Effects of N addition on C (a), N (b) and P (c) concentrations and C:N (d), C:P (e) and N:P (f) ratios in the plant tissues. Bars indicate standard errors. Different lowercase letters above the bars represent significant differences among different N treatments within the same plant tissue at P<0.05 level.
Fig. 3 Effects of N addition on C (a), N (b) and P (c) concentrations and C:N (d), C:P (e) and N:P (f) ratios of soil. Bars indicate standard errors. Different lowercase letters above the bars represent significant differences among different N treatments at P<0.05 level.
Fig. 4 Relationships of plant biomass with C (a and g), N (b and h) and P (c and i) concentrations and C:N (d and j), C:P (e and k) and N:P (f and l) ratios of plant. Rr2, Rs2 and Rl2 represent the coefficients of determination of root, stem and leaf of A. michnoi, respectively.
Fig. 5 Relationships of plant biomass with C (a), N (b) and P (c) concentrations and C:N (d), C:P (e) and N:P (f) ratios of soil. Ra2 and Rb2 represent the coefficients of determination of aboveground biomass and belowground biomass of A. michnoi, respectively.
Fig. 6 Relationships among C:N (a), C:P (b) and N:P (c) ratios of leaf and soil. Rso2, Rst2 and Rr2 represent the coefficients of determination of soil, stem and root of A. michnoi, respectively.
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