Dauciform roots affect functional traits of Carex filispica under nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization in alpine meadow

Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 30;13(1):14195. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-40828-9.


Over recent decades, there has been a severe nitrogen-deposition in alpine meadows which often leads to phosphorus limitation of plant productivity. In these high-altitude localities, Cyperaceae have an increasing biomass while other functional groups decrease. Meanwhile, Cyperaceae are known to have the ability of producing dauciform roots, which are formed under phosphorus limitation, but in China, are only described in these high-altitude places. So, is the superiority of Cyperaceae and the formation of dauciform roots in high-altitude localities related to the accumulation of nitrogen? And is there a link between them? A Carex filispica dominated community in Baima Snow Mountain was selected and quantitative fertilization with four levels of nitrogen and three levels of phosphorus was performed. After 2 weeks, Carex filispica individuals with and without dauciform roots were separated and analyzed for their regular root properties, dauciform root properties, biomass and chemical traits of above- and belowground parts. The total cover of the community declined under phosphorus limitation with increasing nitrogen supply, while the relative cover difference of Carex filispica increased with increasing nitrogen supply and decreased with increasing phosphorus supply. Dauciform roots had a more significant response to nitrogen supply than to phosphorus supply and they were formed the most at a low supply of nitrogen. The biomass and root properties of individuals with dauciform roots were enhanced by nitrogen supply and inhibited by phosphorus supply, while those of individuals without dauciform roots were often enhanced by phosphorus supply. Individuals with and without dauciform roots showed two different mechanisms, and were limited by significantly different factors, which can explain the opposite performance of Cyperaceae after nitrogen and phosphorus supply in previous studies.

PMID:37648691 | PMC:PMC10469187 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-40828-9


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