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Moss Patch Size and Shrubs Influence Moss Growth in a Temperate Desert: Study


Patchy habitats, which accommodate many organisms, are an essential ecological phenomenon in terrestrial ecosystems. Mosses are patchily and widely distributed in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China. Previous studies of desert mosses adaptability mostly focused on the individual morphological, physiological and molecular method, often ignoring whether aggregated growth patterns of mosses could improve plant stress resistance.

Zhang Yuanming, a researcher from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, lead his team studied the environmental adaptability of moss in population scale on the basis of the previous studies of leaf structure, photosynthetic, physiological and water characteristics of desert mosses. Ecology stoichiometry of aboveground (stem and leaf) and belowground (rhizoid) of moss patches were measured in different microhabitats for the effects of moss patch size on moss ecology stoichiometry characteristics.

Research results showed that moss N and P contents of above-ground parts were significantly higher than those of below-ground parts in both open areas and under the canopy of living shrubs. Moss stoichiometry was significantly influenced by patch size in open areas, but not under the canopy of living shrubs. The growth strategy of moss patches was driven by the above-ground parts of the moss in a temperate desert. Patch size might influence the moss and soil stoichiometry, and may be regulated by microhabitats. Patch size influenced the multifunctionality of the moss microsystem. The effects of shrubs dominated moss growth strategy compared with the effects of patch size. In addition, the results provide information of importance for desert ecosystem management.

The results were published in the latest issue of Plant and Soil. Article link: https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11104-019-04191-x

Contact: LIU Jie, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography

E-mail: liujie@ms.xjb.ac.cn