A Negative Relationship between Foliar Carbon Isotope Composition and Mass-Based Nitrogen Concentration on the Eastern Slope of Mount Gongga, China.

PloS one

PubMedID: 27870885

Li J, Wang G, Zhang R, Li L. A Negative Relationship between Foliar Carbon Isotope Composition and Mass-Based Nitrogen Concentration on the Eastern Slope of Mount Gongga, China. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(11):e0166958.
Plants adopt ecological strategy to resist environmental changes and increase their resource-use efficiency. The ecological strategy includes changes in physiological traits and leaf morphology, which may result in simultaneous variations in foliar N concentration and the ratio of intercellular CO2 concentration to ambient CO2 concentration (ci/ca). This in turn links to foliar carbon isotope discrimination, and thus, a relationship between foliar N concentration and foliar carbon isotope composition (d13C) is expected. To understand how plants integrate their structural and physiological resistance to environmental changes, the relationship between foliar N concentration and foliard13C has been assessed intensively, especially the correlation between area-based N concentration (Narea) and d13C. Less effort has been dedicated to the examination of the relationship between mass-based N concentration(Nmass) and d13C. Studies on the Nmass-d13C relationship, especially those including a large amount of data and species, will enhance our understanding of leaf economics and benefit ecological modeling. The present study includes an intensive investigation into this relationship by measuring foliar Nmass and d13C in a large number of plant species grown on the eastern slope of Mount Gongga, China. This study shows that foliar Nmass decreases with increasing d13C, which is independent of functional group, vegetation type, and altitude. This suggests that a negative correlation between Nmass and d13C may be a general pattern for plants grown not only on Mount Gongga, but also in other areas.