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Nitrogen and phosphorus addition differentially enhance seed production of dominant species in a temperate steppe
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  • Lei Su,
  • Mengzhou Liu,
  • Chengming You,
  • Qun Guo,
  • Zhongmin Hu,
  • Zhongling Yang,
  • Guoyong Li
Lei Su
Henan University
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Mengzhou Liu
Henan University
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Chengming You
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Qun Guo
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Zhongmin Hu
South China Normal University
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Zhongling Yang
Henan University
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Guoyong Li
Henan University
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Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated changes in plant growth and reproduction in response to nutrient availability, but how investigations of such responses to multiple levels of nutrient enrichment remains unclear. In this study, we manipulated nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability to examine seed production responses to three levels each of N and P addition in a factorial experiment: no N addition (0 g N m-2 yr-1), low N addition (10 g N m-2 yr-1), high N addition (40 g N m-2 yr-1), and no P addition (0 g P m-2 yr-1), low P addition (5 g P m-2 yr-1), high P addition (10 g P m-2 yr-1). Low N addition enhanced seed production by 814%, 1371%, and 1321% under ambient, low, and high P addition levels, respectively. High N addition increased seed production by 2136%, 3560%, and 3550% under ambient, low, and high P addition levels, respectively. However, P addition did not affect seed production in the absence of N addition, but it did enhance it under N addition. Furthermore, N addition enhanced seed production mainly by increasing the tiller number and inflorescence abundance per plant, whereas P addition stimulated it by decreasing the plant density yet stimulating height of plants and their seed number per inflorescence. Our results indicate seed production is limited not by P but rather by N in the temperate steppe, whereas seed production will be increased by P addition when N availability is improved. These findings enable a better understanding of plant reproduction dynamics of steppe ecosystems under intensified nutrient enrichment and can inform their improved management in the future.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

26 Mar 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
01 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
01 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
16 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 May 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
25 May 20211st Revision Received
27 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
27 May 2021Assigned to Editor
27 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor