Journal of Ecology and Rural Environment ›› 2017, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (3): 225-233.doi: 10.11934/j.issn.1673-4831.2017.03.005

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Niches of the Major Plant Populations in Grasslands Typical of the Poyang Lake Wetland in Five Resources-Environmental Gradients

DUAN Hou-lang1,2, ZHAO An1,2, YAO Zhong3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Wetland and Watershed Research, Ministry of Education, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China;
    2. School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China;
    3. Jiangxi Academy of Sciences, Nanchang 330096, China
  • Received:2016-06-24 Online:2017-03-25 Published:2017-03-25


Data of 10 dominant plant species and 5 resources-environmental factors (elevation, soil pH, electrical conductivity, water content and organic matter content) were gathered through surveys of 95 quadrates (1 m×1 m) in 19 sample plots (5 m×5 m) in the Chayegang Grassland of the Henghu Farm, typical of the Poyang Lake wetland, and analyzed for breadths and overlaps of the ecological niches of the plant populations, using the indices of Levins niche breadth and Pianka niche overlap. Results show that: (1) Carex cinerascens and Phalaris arundinacea are the dominant species in the region and have broader niche along the five resources-environmental gradients, while Cyperus michelianus, Rorippa cantoniensis, Phragmites australis and some others are accidental species and have relatively narrow niches; (2) The 10 plant species rarely overlap in niche, but exception exists with Eleocharis valleculosa, Cyperus michelianus and Rorippa cantoniensis, which overlap each other much more than the other plant species pairs; (3) Of the 10 major plant populations, niche breadth is significantly (P<0.05) or extra-significantly (P<0.01) and positively related to other important values, but extra-significantly (P<0.01) and negatively related to variation coefficient of their important values. The 10 dominant plant species vary sharply in resource-environment utilization capability and adaptability to the 5 environmental factors, and are generally low in niche overlap. Importance values of the plant species are the major factors dictating niche breadth.

Key words: Poyang Lake wetland, plant population, niche breadth, niche overlap

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