Effects of increased precipitation on C, N and P stoichiometry at different growth stages of a cold desert annual

Lan Zhang, Huiliang Liu, Lingwei Zhang, Yanfeng Chen, Carol C. Baskin

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4 Citations (SciVal)


Plant C, N and P can reflect plant strategies of nutrient utilization and allocation. Precipitation is a key factor affecting plant nutrient uptake and utilization strategies especially in arid and semiarid regions, and it is predicted to increase in the cold deserts of Northwest China due to climate change. However, the balance of C, N and P stoichiometry in annual plants at different growth stages in response to increased precipitation is not known. Thus, we performed an experiment on the annual grass Eremopyrum distans in the Gurbantunggut Desert to determine the effect of increased precipitation on C, N and P utilization and allocation at different growth stages. In the control, organ C concentration was relatively stable during the life cycle, but leaf and root N and P concentration increased during the vegetative stage; culm N concentration decreased and P concentration increased and then decreased with plant growth. Increased precipitation significantly increased the leaf N and P concentration and decreased the C:N and C:P ratios at the vegetative growth stage, but leaf N:P was lower than 14 during the whole growth stage. Increased precipitation could improve the leaf N and P resorption efficiency to cope with the reproduction allocation, and the root nutrients are more sensitive to increased precipitation. These results indicate that increased precipitation could improve the nutrient absorption and utilization for vegetative and reproductive growth of E. distans, and the root system plays crucially important role to influence the stoichiometry under varied environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02158
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 32160526 , 32171513 , 31971428 ); the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences ( 2018477 ); and the High-level Talents Training Program of Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • C, N and P stoichiometry
  • Climate change
  • Eremopyrum distans
  • Growth stage
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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