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Relationship between ecological stoichiometry and community diversity of plant ecosystems in the upper reaches of the Tarim River, China

By Jingjing Zhao, Lu Gong, Xin Chen

Posted 01 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/432278

Aim Although it is commonly proposed that nutrient cycling can impact plant community diversity, this relationship has not been fully examined in arid and semi-arid zones. Here, we expand on the framework for evaluating the relationship between biodiversity and ecological stoichiometry by scaling up from the level of the community. Location The upper reaches of the Tarim River (Northwest China, 80°10′- 84°36′E, 0°25′- 41°10′N). Methods We used multivariate analysis of variance to compare the stoichiometric characteristics and species diversity indices of sampled plant communities. We also measured carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorous (P) content of plants. We then assessed correlations between community stoichiometry and species diversity through structural equation models (SEM) and redundancy analysis (RDA). Results We found that the differences between stoichiometric characteristics and community diversity indices were highly significant. The Margalef index was strongly related to C and P content. The Simpson’s index and Shannon-Weaner index were most strongly correlated with C content. Pielou’s index was closely related to C and N contents, and the C:N and C:P ratios were important at driving ecological dominance. Main Conclusions Our study highlights the importance of ecological stoichiometry in driving community assembly and diversity within a desert ecosystems in northwestern China. The relationship between eclogical stoichiometry in the desert plant community had an effect on species diversity, and it was a good indicator of plant community diversity.

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