Data_Sheet_1_Relationships Between Leaf Carbon and Macronutrients Across Woody Species and Forest Ecosystems Highlight How Carbon Is Allocated to Leaf.docx (361.26 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Relationships Between Leaf Carbon and Macronutrients Across Woody Species and Forest Ecosystems Highlight How Carbon Is Allocated to Leaf Structural Function.docx

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posted on 11.06.2021, 05:37 by Kaixiong Xing, Mingfei Zhao, Ülo Niinemets, Shuli Niu, Jing Tian, Yuan Jiang, Han Y. H. Chen, Philip J. White, Dali Guo, Zeqing Ma

Stoichiometry of leaf macronutrients can provide insight into the tradeoffs between leaf structural and metabolic investments. Structural carbon (C) in cell walls is contained in lignin and polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectins). Much of leaf calcium (Ca) and a fraction of magnesium (Mg) were further bounded with cell wall pectins. The macronutrients phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and nitrogen (N) are primarily involved in cell metabolic functions. There is limited information on the functional interrelations among leaf C and macronutrients, and the functional dimensions characterizing the leaf structural and metabolic tradeoffs are not widely appreciated. We investigated the relationships between leaf C and macronutrient (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) concentrations in two widespread broad-leaved deciduous woody species Quercus wutaishanica (90 individuals) and Betula platyphylla (47 individuals), and further tested the generality of the observed relationships in 222 woody eudicots from 15 forest ecosystems. In a subsample of 20 broad-leaved species, we also analyzed the relationships among C, Ca, lignin, and pectin concentrations in leaf cell walls. We found a significant leaf C–Ca tradeoff operating within and across species and across ecosystems. This basic relationship was explained by variations in the share of cell wall lignin and pectin investments at the cell scale. The C–Ca tradeoffs were mainly driven by soil pH and mean annual temperature and precipitation, suggesting that leaves were more economically built with less C and more Ca as soil pH increased and at lower temperature and lower precipitation. However, we did not detect consistent patterns among C–N, and C–Mg at different levels of biological organization, suggesting substantial plasticity in N and Mg distribution among cell organelles and cell protoplast and cell wall. We observed two major axes of macronutrient differentiation: the cell-wall structural axis consisting of protein-free C and Ca and the protoplasm metabolic axis consisting of P and K, underscoring the decoupling of structural and metabolic elements inherently linked with cell wall from protoplasm investment strategies. We conclude that the tradeoffs between leaf C and Ca highlight how carbon is allocated to leaf structural function and suggest that this might indicate biogeochemical niche differentiation of species.

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