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Clonality-climate relationships along latitudinal gradient across China: adaptation of clonality to environments.

By Duo Ye, Yukun Hu, Minghua Song, Xu Pan, Xiufang Xie, Guofang Liu, Xuehua Ye and Ming Dong

Abstract

Plant clonality, the ability of a plant species to reproduce itself vegetatively through ramets (shoot-root units), occurs in many plant species and is considered to be more frequent in cold or wet environments. However, a deeper understanding on the clonality-climate relationships along large geographic gradients is still scarce. In this study we revealed the clonality-climate relationships along latitudinal gradient of entire China spanning from tropics to temperate zones using clonality data for 4015 vascular plant species in 545 terrestrial communities. Structural equation modeling (SEM) showed that, in general, the preponderance of clonality increased along the latitudinal gradient towards cold, dry or very wet environments. However, the distribution of clonality in China was significantly but only weakly correlated with latitude and four climatic factors (mean annual temperature, temperature seasonality, mean annual precipitation, precipitation seasonality). Clonality of woody and herbaceous species had opposite responses to climatic variables. More precisely, woody clonality showed higher frequency in wet or climatically stable environments, while herbaceous clonality preferred cold, dry or climatically instable environments. Unexplained variation in clonality may be owed to the influences of other environmental conditions and to different clonal strategies and underlying traits adopted by different growth forms and phylogenetic lineages. Therefore, in-depth research in terms of more detailed clonal growth form, phylogeny and additional environmental variables are encouraged to further understand plant clonality response to climatic and/or edaphic conditions

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094009
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:e559e96fc9604323ae6aa08c00f326ed
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