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Does leaf resorption efficiency always predict plant nutrient status? A case study from a common mangrove species in China
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  • Lili Wei,
  • Ming Yang Bee,
  • Poh Seng Chee,
  • Ankit Garg,
  • Yangyang Wu,
  • Tingfeng Zhang,
  • Hongyong Fan,
  • Jie Li,
  • Lin Liu,
  • Xu Huang,
  • Chaoxiang Liu
Ming Yang Bee
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Poh Seng Chee
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Ankit Garg
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Yangyang Wu
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Tingfeng Zhang
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Hongyong Fan
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Chaoxiang Liu
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Aims The impact of nutrient increase on nutrient resorption from senescent leaves is an important topic, which is not completely understood. Mangrove species are characterized by nutrient conservation mechanisms as a consequence of adaptation to nutrient-poor environments. The understanding of the response of the traits related to nutrient conservation strategies to nutrient availability is limited. This study aims to address whether nutrient resorption of mangrove species is responsive to long-term nutrient enrichment. Methods A field-based study was carried out in a Kandelia obovata dominated mangrove stand where a nutrient gradient was generated by the long-term discharge of aquaculture wastewater. Seasonal variations of nutrient resorption and nutrient availability were assessed. Important findings The data from summer and winter showed the same results: 1) resorption proficiency or the nutrient concentrations (N and P) in senescent leaves did not varied with nutrient increases except the plot that the N availability was extremely high; 2) the resorption efficiency of both N and P was positively correlated with nutrient availability, and N resorption efficiency was also positively correlated to leaf N: P ratio; 3) N resorption was complete while the resorption of P was incomplete. These results indicate that resorption proficiency of K. obovata is less sensitive than resorption efficiency to nutrient availability, and the positive response of N resorption efficiency is related to the imbalance of nutrient availability, while the positive response of P resorption efficiency is unrelated to plant nutrient status. We suggest that caution should be taken in using resorption efficiency of mangrove species to predict plant nutrient status.