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How Spartina alterniflora adapts to a new environment created by embankment reclamation through C-N-P stoichiometry in the coastal wetlands of eastern China
Although embankment reclamation is a recurring activity in the coastal wetlands of China, the effect of embankment construction on plant growth has attracted little attention. Leaf carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) stoichiometry (C-N-P stoichiometry) of a plant can be used to reflect plant adaptation to new environments created by reclamation. Here, we investigated the biomass and leaf C-N-P stoichiometry of Spartina alterniflora Loisel., soil C-N-P stoichiometry, and soil moisture, salinity, bulk density, and pH in both embankment-reclaimed and natural S. alterniflora salt marshes in eastern China. Plant biomass, leaf P content, and soil salinity and soil moisture decreased significantly in the reclaimed marsh compared with the natural marsh. The decrease in leaf P content is possibly attributed to alterations in soil salinity and soil moisture and soil organic C and N contents in the reclaimed marsh. Our results indicate that the decreased aboveground biomass in the reclaimed marsh is likely to be correlated with an increase in leaf N/P ratio, in accordance with the ‘growth rate hypothesis’. However, previously published threshold values of the N/P ratio as indicators of N or P limitation of plant growth may not be applicable to S. alterniflora at our study site.
MF17374 Accepted 08 January 2018
© CSIRO 2018