Sulfur is an essential macronutrient for plant primary metabolism. Its availability can modulate plant growth in most terrestrial ecosystems. However, its relationship with other leaf and nutrient traits, and hence its contribution to plant functioning, remains unclear. We analysed leaf and nutrient traits for 740 vascular plant species growing in a wide range of environmental conditions in Northern Italy. We determined whether leaf sulfur content per unit leaf dry mass (LSC) is associated with leaf economics spectrum, and whether its distribution among functional types (growth forms, leaf life span categories, and Grime's CSR (Competitive, Stress-tolerant, Ruderal strategies) could help to elucidate adaptive differences within plant taxa. High LSC values were mainly associated with fast-growing species representative of R- and C- strategy selection, thus the acquisitive extreme of plant economics, reflecting strong potential connections with ecosystem properties such as biomass production or litter decomposability. In general, LSC was significantly and positively correlated with leaf nitrogen content, and nitrogen to sulfur ratio was constant throughout growth forms, leaf life span and CSR strategies, and phylogenetic effects were evident. Our findings highlight that LSC variation is strongly associated with the leaf economics spectrum, suggesting that additional nutrients seldom included in functional analyses may also be embroiled within the context of plant economics. However, different ratios among nitrogen and sulfur may be expected across different plant families, suggesting that deeper insight from functional groups can provide a bridge between plant stoichiometry and ecology, useful for the evaluation of ecological responses to global change.

The association of leaf sulfur content with the leaf economics spectrum and plant adaptive strategies / M. Dalle Fratte, S. Pierce, M. Zanzottera, B.E.L. Cerabolini. - In: FUNCTIONAL PLANT BIOLOGY. - ISSN 1445-4408. - 48:9(2021 May 25), pp. 924-935. [10.1071/FP20396]

The association of leaf sulfur content with the leaf economics spectrum and plant adaptive strategies

S. Pierce
Writing – Review & Editing
;
M. Zanzottera;
2021

Abstract

Sulfur is an essential macronutrient for plant primary metabolism. Its availability can modulate plant growth in most terrestrial ecosystems. However, its relationship with other leaf and nutrient traits, and hence its contribution to plant functioning, remains unclear. We analysed leaf and nutrient traits for 740 vascular plant species growing in a wide range of environmental conditions in Northern Italy. We determined whether leaf sulfur content per unit leaf dry mass (LSC) is associated with leaf economics spectrum, and whether its distribution among functional types (growth forms, leaf life span categories, and Grime's CSR (Competitive, Stress-tolerant, Ruderal strategies) could help to elucidate adaptive differences within plant taxa. High LSC values were mainly associated with fast-growing species representative of R- and C- strategy selection, thus the acquisitive extreme of plant economics, reflecting strong potential connections with ecosystem properties such as biomass production or litter decomposability. In general, LSC was significantly and positively correlated with leaf nitrogen content, and nitrogen to sulfur ratio was constant throughout growth forms, leaf life span and CSR strategies, and phylogenetic effects were evident. Our findings highlight that LSC variation is strongly associated with the leaf economics spectrum, suggesting that additional nutrients seldom included in functional analyses may also be embroiled within the context of plant economics. However, different ratios among nitrogen and sulfur may be expected across different plant families, suggesting that deeper insight from functional groups can provide a bridge between plant stoichiometry and ecology, useful for the evaluation of ecological responses to global change.
CSR; ecological stoichiometry; global spectrum; Grime's strategies; leaf nutrients; plant functional traits; biomass; phylogeny; sulfur; ecosystem; plants
Settore BIO/03 - Botanica Ambientale e Applicata
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/870028
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