Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (4): 431-439.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015253

Special Issue: Plant Diversity in the Dry Valleys of Southwest China

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Comparisons of species composition between soil seed banks and aboveground plant communities in the dry-hot valley of the Yuanjiang River

Zhiming Zhang1, Rui Shen1, Jianli Zhang2, Qian Xu1, Yuan Luo3, Qiaochu Yu1, Qiuxia Zhang1, Xiaokun Ou1, *()   

  1. 1 Institute of Ecology and Geobotany, Yunnan University, Kunming, 650091.
    2 Guizhou Provincial Mountain Resource Institute, Guiyang, 550001.
    3 Yunnan Environmental Engineer Assessment Center, Kunming 650032
  • Received:2015-09-18 Accepted:2016-04-29 Online:2016-05-11
  • Ou Xiaokun

The relationship between the seed bank and aboveground communities has attracted much interest among plant community ecologists. The objective of this study was to address the relationships between soil seed banks and aboveground plant communities by comparing the species composition in the dry-hot valley of the Yuanjiang River. Typical shrub-grass communities in the dry-hot valley were selected and five plots were established in upper, middle, and lower sections of the Yuanjiang River watershed. A total of 100 sampling quadrats were collected, and plant communities were surveyed. In addition, soil samples were collected in three layers (0-5 cm, 5-10 cm, and 10-15 cm) in each community sample. The seed banks from the soil samples were germinated in the lab and species were identified. The results showed that (1) 76 plant species belonging to 25 families and 64 genera were found in the aboveground plant communities. These species mainly belonged to Fabaceae, Poaceae, Asteraece and Euphorbiaceae. (2) 33 plant species belonging to 14 families and 32 genera were found in the soil seed banks. These species mainly belonged to xeromorphy Gramineae. (3) In three soil layers, the proportion of the surface soil seed banks was the largest, and the numbers of seeds decreased as the depth of soil increased. (4) For each plot, few common species were found between the soil seed banks and plant communities, and thus their similarity is low. In summary, there were no significant correlations between the soil seed banks and aboveground plant communities. Moreover, several invasive species can be found both in the seed banks and aboveground plant communities.

Key words: dry-hot valley, soil seed banks, above ground plant communities, species composition, similarity, Yuanjiang River

Fig. 1

Distribution of the sampling plots"

Table 1

Vertical distribution and percentage of seed bank density (seeds/ m2) at different soil depth in grass and shrub communities in the dry-hot valley of Yuanjiang River"

Chi-Square x2 P
0-5 cm
Seed density percentage
1,313.3±83.8 706.7±155.4 493.3±116.5 420.0±57.1 326.7±37.1 27.646 <0.01**
64.80% 65.43% 80.44% 57.80% 67.12%
5-10 cm
Seed density percentage
426.7±41.9 240.0±52.4 100.0±23.9 193.3±50.2 106.7±33.0 26.822 <0.05*
21.05% 22.22% 16.30% 26.60% 21.92%
10-15 cm
Seed density percentage
286.7±60.1 133.3±38.6 20.0±14.5 113.3±35.0 53.3±23.6 23.616 <0.05*
14.15% 12.35% 3.26% 15.60% 10.96%

Table 2

Similarity index of soil seed bank among five different plots in the dry-hot valley of Yuan River"

新平 Xinping 0.292 - - -
元江 Yuanjiang 0.217 0.167 - -
红河 Honghe 0.292 0.200 0.400 -
元阳 Yuanyang 0.208 0.222 0.462 0.467

Table 3

The common species percentage and similarity index between soil seed banks and vegetation"

No. of common species
% of common species in above- ground communities
占土壤种子库种类百分比 %
% of common specie in seed banks
Jaccard 相似性系数
Jaccard similarity index
祥云 Xiangyun 7 22.58 36.84 0.163
新平 Xinping 4 13.79 33.33 0.108
元江 Yuanjiang 2 11.76 22.22 0.083
红河 Honghe 5 20.00 41.67 0.156
元阳 Yuanyang 5 20.00 50.00 0.167
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