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Trait-based adaptability of Phragmites australis to the effects of soil water and salinity in the Yellow River Delta
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  • Dayou Zhou,
  • Yuehan Ni,
  • Xiaona Yu,
  • Kuixuan Lin,
  • Ning Du,
  • Lele Liu,
  • Xiao Guo,
  • Weihua Guo
Dayou Zhou
Shandong University
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Yuehan Ni
Shandong University
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Xiaona Yu
Shandong University
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Kuixuan Lin
Chinese Research Academy of Environment Sciences
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Ning Du
Shandong University
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Lele Liu
Shandong University
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Xiao Guo
Qingdao Agricultural University
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Weihua Guo
Shandong University
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Abstract

Phragmites australis is the dominant species in the Yellow River Delta and plays an important role in wetland ecosystems. Ecological responses of the P. australis community to soil properties were investigated in 96 areas along the coastal-inland regions in the Yellow River Delta of China. The aim was to evaluate the relationship between phenotypic variation and environmental factors, reveal which functional traits could well respond to changes in electrical conductivity and soil water content, and the ecological strategies of P. australis. Within the range of soil water content (9.39–36.92%) and electrical conductivity (0.14–13.29 ms/cm), the results showed that the effects of soil water content and salinity were not equally important for the characterization of the morphological and physiological variability, and that plant functional traits including leaf traits and stem traits responded more strongly to soil salinity than soil water content. Our results suggested that salinity leads to reduced average height, specific leaf area, leaf area, and base stem diameter, but increased leaf water content and leaf thickness. The relationships between functional traits and electrical conductivity were generally linear and logarithmic. The coefficients of variation of morphological traits showed more phenotypic plasticity than the physiological traits. Salinity also led to the stress tolerator/competitor-stress tolerator (S/CS) strategies of P. australis; with the decrease of environmental stress, the main strategy gradually moved to the competitor (C) strategy, making P. australis the dominant species in the Yellow River Delta. KEYWORDS: Soil water content, Electrical conductivity, Functional traits, Plasticity, Life strategies.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

10 Feb 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
12 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
12 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
15 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
17 May 20211st Revision Received
17 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
17 May 2021Assigned to Editor
17 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned