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Tytuł artykułu

Plant functional trait response to habitat change and grazing in a semiarid grassland: unravelling species turnover and intraspecific variation effects


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Plant community assembly is determined by species turnover and intraspecific trait variations (ITV) controlled by environment changes. However, little is known about how species turnover and ITV affect the responses of plant community to habitat changes and grazing disturbance in semiarid grasslands. Here, we measured five functional plant traits in four typical grassland habitats under fencing and grazing disturbance in a semiarid grassland, Northern China, including plant height, specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), leaf nitrogen content (LNC) and leaf carbon: nitrogen ratio (C:N). We also calculated the community weighted means (CWM) and non-weighted means (CM) of all traits and examined the relative roles of species turnover and ITV in affecting the responses of community traits to habitat changes and grazing disturbance. Our results showed that the CWM and CM values of five functional traits differed with grassland habitat changes. As compared to other grasslands, the Stipa steppe had the higher plant height, the sandy grassland had the higher SLA and lower LDMC, and the meadow had the lower LNC and higher C:N. Grazing decreased plant height across grassland habitats, as well as decreased SLA and increased LDMC in meadow. The responses of all community-level traits to habitat changes were driven by species turnover, while the responses of phenotypic traits (height, SLA and LDMC) to grazing were determined by both species turnover and ITV. So, we argue that ITV should be considered when understanding plant community assembly under grazing disturbance regime in semiarid grasslands.








Opis fizyczny



  • Naiman Desertification Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
  • Naiman Desertification Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • Urat Desert-grassland Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • Naiman Desertification Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
  • Urat Desert-Grassland Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
  • Naiman Desertification Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • Urat Desert-Grassland Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou, 730000, China


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