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Chunyang Li (email), Xuejiang Zhang, Xingliang Liu, Olavi Luukkanen, Frank Berninger

Leaf morphological and physiological responses of Quercus aquifolioides along an altitudinal gradient

Li C., Zhang X., Liu X., Luukkanen O., Berninger F. (2006). Leaf morphological and physiological responses of Quercus aquifolioides along an altitudinal gradient. Silva Fennica vol. 40 no. 1 article id 348. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.348

Abstract

Quercus aquifolioides Rehder & E.H. Wilson, an evergreen alpine and subalpine shrub species, occupies a wide range of habitats on the eastern slopes of the Himalaya in China. In this study, we measured leaf morphology, nitrogen content and carbon isotope composition (as an indicator of water use efficiency) of Q. aquifolioides along an altitudinal gradient. We found that these leaf morphological and physiological responses to altitudinal gradients were non-linear with increasing altitude. Specific leaf area, stomatal length and index increased with increasing altitude below 2800 m, but decreased with increasing altitude above 2800 m. In contrast, leaf nitrogen content per unit area and carbon isotope composition showed opposite change patterns. Specific leaf area seemed to be the most important parameter that determined the carbon isotope composition along the altitudinal gradient. Our results suggest that near 2800 m in altitude could be the optimum zone for growth and development of Q. aquifolioides, and highlight the importance of the influence of altitude in research on plant physiological ecology.

Keywords
carbon isotope composition; leaf nitrogen content; specific leaf area; stomata

Author Info
  • Li, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 416, Chengdu 610041, P. R. China ORCID ID:E-mail licy@cib.ac.cn (email)
  • Zhang, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 416, Chengdu 610041, P. R. China; Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, P.R. China ORCID ID:
  • Liu, Sichuan Academy of Forestry, Chengdu 610081, P. R. China ORCID ID:
  • Luukkanen, Viikki Tropical Resources Institute, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:
  • Berninger, Département des sciences biologiques, Cp 8888 succ centre ville, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal (QC) H3C 3P8, Canada ORCID ID:

Received 13 April 2005 Accepted 26 October 2005 Published 31 December 2006

Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.348 | Download PDF

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