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Bulletin of Botanical Research ›› 2017, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 37-44.doi: 10.7525/j.issn.1673-5102.2017.01.006

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Effects of Biological Soil Crusts on Growth and Nutrient Uptake in Three Desert Herbs in the Gurbantunggut Desert,Northwestern China

ZHUANG Wei-Wei1,2, ZHOU Xiao-Bing3, ZHANG Yuan-Ming3   

  1. 1. Xinjiang Key Laboratory of Special Species Conservation and Regulatory Biology, College of Life Sciences, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi 830054;
    2. Key Laboratory of Plant Stress Biology in Arid Land, College of Life Sciences, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi 830054;
    3. Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Bioresource in Arid Land, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011
  • Received:2016-09-20 Online:2017-01-15 Published:2017-03-06
  • Supported by:
    The Natural Science Foundation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region(2016D01B049)

Abstract: As an important component for desert ecosystem, biological soil crusts(biocrusts) may possibly affect adjacent vascular plants via hydrology, soil erosion and nutrient cycling, while experimental evidences are still scarce and controversial. In the present research, we attempted to experimentally investigate whether and how biocrusts affect growth and nutrient uptake in vascular plants of the Gurbantunggut Desert. We conducted the experiments to examine the effects of biocrusts on growth and nutrient uptake in three widely distributed species of Erodium oxyrrhynchum, Alyssum linifolium and Hyalea pulchella. The results showed that the effects of biocrusts on the growth of three desert vascular plants were different in different growing phases. The biomass the three species in crusted soils were higher than those in uncrusted soils in the early growth period and lower in the later part of the growing period. While biocrusts did not significantly affect the biomass allocation between shoot and root. Biocrusts also influenced nutrient uptake by plants, especially promoting uptake of N and K, while did not affect the uptake of P. The influence on uptake of other elements(Cu, Ca, Mg, Na, Cl) was species-specific. We expect to provide important scientific basis on the potential vegetation succession direction in this desert ecosystem.

Key words: biological soil crusts, growth, nutrient uptake, desert herbs, the Gurbantunggut Desert

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