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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Plant stoichiometry at different scales: element concentration patterns reflect environment more than genotype

Ågren, Göran; Weih, Martin


All plant species require at least 16 elements for their growth and survival but the relative requirements and the variability at different organizational We use a fertiliser experiment with six willow (Salix spp.) genotypes to evaluate a methodology based on Euclidian distances for stoichiometric analysis of the variability in leaf nutrient relations of twelve of those (C, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, S, Fe, Zn, B, Cu) plus Na and Al. Differences in availability of the elements in the environment was the major driver of variation. Variability between leaves within a plant or between individuals of the same genotype growing in close proximity was as large as variability between genotypes. Elements could be grouped by influence on growth: N, P, S and Mn concentrations follow each other and increase with growth rate; K, Ca and Mg uptake follow the increase in biomass; but uptake of Fe, B, Zn and Al seems to be limited. The position of Cu lies between the first two groups. Only for Na is there a difference in element concentrations between genotypes. The three groups of elements can be associated with different biochemical functions.


environmental variability; genotypic variability; mineral nutrients; Salix; small-scale variability; within-individual variability

Published in

New Phytologist
2012, Volume: 194, number: 4, pages: 944-952

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      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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