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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI:

Species-specific spatial and temporal variations of foliar nitrogen and phosphorus in mangrove plants

Zhongmao Jiang, Baowen Liao, Kun Xin, Feng Wu, Christian J. Sanders, Yanmei Xiong*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Foliar nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations and stoichiometry affect the productivity and functioning of plants, and play an important role in the biogeochemical processes. We aimed to reveal the spatial and temporal variations of foliar nutrient concentrations and N:P stoichiometry in the mangroves of China, and partition the relative importance of taxonomic, climatic and edaphic factors in explaining the variations. To assess spatial patterns, mature leaves of 3 broadly distributed mangrove species in China were collected spanning a latitudinal gradient. To assess temporal variation in leaf stoichiometry, we selected 1 site and sampled leaves of 4 species monthly over 12 mo. Positive relationships were found between foliar nutrient concentrations and latitude or soil nutrient concentrations in individual species. Species accounted for 76, 46 and 18% of the spatial variations in foliar N, P and N:P mass ratio, respectively, while soil nutrients or climate accounted for small portions of the variations (≤8.3%). Different species showed no consistent patterns across temporal variations in foliar nutrient concentrations or stoichiometry, and species accounted for 94, 86 and 26% of the variations in foliar N, P and N:P ratio, respectively, throughout the year, while climatic factors accounted for only a small portion of the variations (≤0.5%). Our results suggest that species has stronger effects than environmental factors in affecting foliar nutrient concentrations and stoichiometry in mangroves, and that stoichiometric homeostasis in mangroves may play an important role in mitigating the effects of environmental changes in coastal areas.