What role do dauciform roots play? Responses of Carex filispica to trampling in alpine meadows based on functional traits

Ecol Evol. 2023 Mar 8;13(3):e9875. doi: 10.1002/ece3.9875. eCollection 2023 Mar.


In China, dauciform roots were hardly studied and only reported in alpine meadows, where sedges showed a different tendency from other functional groups such as grasses and forbs with degradation. In addition, Carex species were proved to have shifting scaling relationships among LES (leaf economics spectrum) traits under disturbance. So, are these unique performances of sedges related to the presence of dauciform roots, and if so, how? An alpine meadow dominated by Carex filispica in Baima Snow Mountain was selected, and quantitative trampling was performed (0, 50, 200, and 500 passes). The cover and dauciform root properties of Carex filispica were measured, as well as the morphological, chemical traits and biomass of leaves and roots, their correlations and the differences between individuals with and without dauciform roots were analyzed. After the trampling, individuals with dauciform roots showed multiple resource-acquisitive traits: Larger, thicker leaves, more aboveground biomass, higher efficiency of nutrient utilization, and slenderer roots. Additionally, they had a tighter correlation among belowground biomass, morphological and chemical traits, as well as dauciform root properties and morphology of leaves, suggesting that their traits were more related than those without dauciform roots. The presence of dauciform roots in Carex filispica was related to advantages in multiple traits after trampling, which is consistent with and might be responsible for the unique performances of sedges.

PMID:36911305 | PMC:PMC9994609 | DOI:10.1002/ece3.9875


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