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Regrowth strategies of Leymus chinensis in response to different grazing intensities

Citation

Zhang, Zihe et al. (2020), Regrowth strategies of Leymus chinensis in response to different grazing intensities, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vhhmgqnq9

Abstract

In temperate grassland ecosystems, grazing can affect plant growth by foraging, trampling and excretion. The ability of dominant plant species to regrow after grazing is critical, since it allows the regeneration of photosynthetic tissues to support growth. We conducted a field experiment to evaluate the effects of different grazing intensities (control, light, medium, and heavy) on the physiological and biochemical responses of Leymus chinensis and the carbon (C) sources utilized during regrowth. Light grazing promoted regrowth and photoassimilate storage of L. chinensis, by increasing the net photosynthetic rate (Pn), photosynthetic quenching, light interception, sugar accumulation, sucrose synthase activities, and fructose supply from stems. At medium grazing intensity, L. chinensis had low Pn, light interception, and sugar accumulation, but higher expression of a sucrose transporter gene (LcSUT1) and water-use efficiency, which reflected a tendency to store C in belowground to promote survival. This strategy was associated with regulation by abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonate, and salicylic acid (SA) signaling. However, L. chinensis tolerated heavy grazing by increased ABA and jasmonate-induced promotion of C assimilation and osmotic adjustment, combined with photoprotection against photo-oxidation, suggesting a strategy based on regrowth. In addition, stems were the main C source organs and energy supply rather than roots. Simultaneously, SA represented a weaker defense than ABA and jasmonate. Therefore, L. chinensis adopted different strategies for regrowth under different grazing intensities, and light grazing promoted regrowth the most. Our results demonstrate the regulation of C reserves utilization by phytohormones, and this regulation provides an explanation for recent results about grazing responses.