Heterogeneity of precipitation could influence various physiological and ecological processes of plants. We present a comparative study on the ecophysiological responses of two congenerous species, Mosla chinensis (an endemic species) and M. scabra (a weedy species), to four soil water content (20%, 40%, 60% and 90% of water holding capacity (WHC), referred to as W20, W40, W60 and W90, respectively) to understand their ecophysiological responses and ecological differentiation. Results showed that both species grew well from W40 to W90, as they showed higher photosynthetic rate and biomass and bigger plants under these soil water content. However, biomass, chlorophyll a to b ratio (Chl a/b) and root to shoot ratio (R/S) of M. scabra but not M. chinensis were significantly reduced under W20, indicating M. chinensis showed stronger capacity of sun-acclimation under severe drought than M. scabra. M. chinensis showed priority in adapting severe drought in comparison with M. scabra. We hypothesize that the different adaptive abilities to soil water content are partly responsible for their ecological differentiation observed in the field and may affect their fate in their native habitat.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 3, 2014
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