Testing the growth rate hypothesis in vascular plants with above- and below-ground biomass

Qiang Yu, Honghui Wu, Nianpeng He, Xiaotao Lü, Zhiping Wang, James Elser, Jianguo Wu, Xingguo Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

The growth rate hypothesis (GRH) proposes that higher growth rate (the rate of change in biomass per unit biomass, μ) is associated with higher P concentration and lower C:P and N:P ratios. However, the applicability of the GRH to vascular plants is not well-studied and few studies have been done on belowground biomass. Here we showed that, for aboveground, belowground and total biomass of three study species, μ was positively correlated with N:C under N limitation and positively correlated with P:C under P limitation. However, the N:P ratio was a unimodal function of μ, increasing for small values of μ, reaching a maximum, and then decreasing. The range of variations in μ was positively correlated with variation in C:N:P stoichiometry. Furthermore, μ and C:N:P ranges for aboveground biomass were negatively correlated with those for belowground. Our results confirm the well-known association of growth rate with tissue concentration of the limiting nutrient and provide empirical support for recent theoretical formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere32162
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 13 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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