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Trait value and phenotypic integration contribute to the response of exotic Rhus typhina to heterogeneous nitrogen deposition: A comparison with native Rhus chinensis

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  • Qun Wang, Qingdao Agricultural University, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University
  • ,
  • Ming Yan Li, Qingdao Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Franziska Eller
  • Yu Jie Luo, Shandong Women's University
  • ,
  • Ying Lan Nong, Qingdao Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Li Jun Xing, Qingdao Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Zhen Wei Xu, Shandong University
  • ,
  • Hai Mei Li, Qingdao Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Hui Cui Lu, Qingdao Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Xiao Guo, Qingdao Agricultural University

The temporal heterogeneity of nitrogen availability in soils is increasing due to agricultural deposition. We here compared the effects of gradually increasing nitrogen deposition rate and its increasing temporal heterogeneity patterns on the functional traits of seedlings of exotic species Rhus typhina and the native species Rhus chinensis. Nitrogen deposition rates of 0, 8, 20 g N m−2 year−1 and constant, single-peak, and double-peak nitrogen were added to simulate deposition rate and temporal heterogeneity. After 60 days of treatment, R. typhina seedlings had several advantageous growth trait values, such as higher total biomass production, but lower phenotypic plasticity than R. chinensis seedlings. R. typhina seedlings also had higher phenotypic integration, measured as the correlation among functional traits. The increased nitrogen deposition rate affected several traits of the two species differently. Thus, while R. chinensis seedlings allocated more biomass to leaves and less to roots with increasing N deposition, R. typhina seedlings had stable biomass allocation among all N treatments. Chlorophyll content, leaf phosphorus concentration, and water use efficiency increased, but the maximum net photosynthetic rate decreased, with N availability in R. chinensis, but not in R. typhina. Temporal heterogeneity had no significant effect on the total biomass of R. typhina and R. chinensis seedlings. Overall, the performance of R. typhina is better than that of R. chinensis seedlings under different nitrogen deposition treatments, which is due to the significantly advantageous trait values and greater phenotypic integration of R. typhina seedlings, whereas R. chinensis seedlings have higher phenotypic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157199
JournalScience of the total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

    Research areas

  • Nitrogen deposition, Phenotypic integration, Phenotypic plasticity, Rhus chinensis, Rhus typhina, Temporal heterogeneity, Trait value

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