Biodiversity Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 296-302.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019099

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Adaptive strategies of functional traits of Metasequoia glyptostroboides parent trees to changing habitats

Jun Chen, Lan Yao(), Xunru Ai, Jiang Zhu, Manling Wu, Xiao Huang, Siyi Chen, Jin Wang, Qiang Zhu   

  1. School of Forestry and Horticulture, Hubei Minzu University, Enshi, Hubei 445000
  • Received:2019-03-24 Accepted:2019-05-16 Online:2019-09-27
  • Lan Yao

Functional trait variability and phenotypic plasticity are the main mechanisms plants use to respond to heterogeneous habitats. These can determine how well a plant grows and where it is distributed. In the Xingdoushan National Nature Reserve, we assessed the response of the functional traits of a population of Metasequoia glyptostroboides parent trees to tree morphology, terrain factors and human disturbance. We found that the leaf area (LA), leaf dry weight (LDW) and specific leaf area (SLA) had large variation and great plasticity, while leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and twig dry matter content (TDMC) were more stable. Human disturbance and the four terrain factors together explained 5%-20% of variance for each functional trait, and crown size explained 38% and 76% of the variation in TDMC and LDMC, respectively. The five functional traits were mainly affected by altitude, slope aspect and human disturbance. The SLA responded slightly to environmental factors and disturbance pattern, while LA and LDW generally increased with strong disturbance. LDMC and TDMC were most sensitive to change in slope aspect. Taken together, the population of M. glyptostroboides parent trees demonstrated significant plasticity in response to the environment through its variability in functional traits. Because human disturbance had a great influence on the growth of these trees, artificial regeneration is recommended, and the impact of agriculture and human construction needs to be reduced.

Key words: Metasequoia glyptostroboides, functional trait, intraspecific variability, phenotypic plasticity, adaptive strategy

Table 1

Functional trait and its variance of Metasequoia glyptostroboides parent trees"

平均值 ± 标准差
Mean ± SD
Coefficient of variation (%)
叶干重 Leaf dry weight (g) 0.229 ± 0.085 0.096 0.889 0.210 17,406.545 11.361 37.172
叶面积 Leaf area (cm2) 28.316 ± 5.813 5.419 61.215 28.903 6,389.909 2.264 20.389
比叶面积 Specific leaf area (cm2/g) 11.6 ± 3.735 1.915 32.454 11.322 4,838.621 0.983 32.121
叶干物质含量 Leaf dry matter content (g/g) 0.242 ± 0.045 0.129 0.430 0.237 4,740.165 0.902 18.358
枝干物质含量 Twig dry matter content (g/g) 0.415 ± 0.038 0.283 0.618 0.415 5,497.453 1.527 9.059

Fig. 1

Multiple factor analysis of functional traits, tree forms, and topographical factors. LA, Leaf area; SLA, Specific leaf area; LDW, Leaf dry weight; LDMC, Leaf dry matter content; TDMC, Twig dry matter content; DBH, Diameter at breast height; H, Height."

Fig. 2

Variance partitioning for function traits by different factors. LA, Leaf area; SLA, Specific leaf area; LDW, Leaf dry weight; LDMC, Leaf dry matter content; TDMC, Twig dry matter content."

Table 2

Grey relational grade analysis between functional traits and topographic factors"

海拔 Altitude 坡向 Aspect 坡度 Slope 坡位
Slope position
叶干重 Leaf dry weight 0.788 0.724 0.653 0.542
叶面积 Leaf area 0.719 0.620 0.632 0.499
比叶面积 Specific leaf area 0.875 0.774 0.762 0.601
Leaf dry matter content
0.786 0.616 0.606 0.506
Twig dry matter content
0.770 0.567 0.626 0.480

Fig. 3

Changes of functional trait values on the gradient of slope aspects. LA, Leaf area; SLA, Specific leaf area; LDW, Leaf dry weight; LDMC, Leaf dry matter content; TDMC, Twig dry matter content."

Fig. 4

Distribution of function trait values under human disturbances. LA, Leaf area; SLA, Specific leaf area; LDW, Leaf dry weight; LDMC, Leaf dry matter content."

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