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21 December 2015 Across-trophic variation of potassium, calcium and magnesium stoichiometric traits in a parasitism food chain across temperate and subtropical biomes
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Abstract

Potassium (K), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) are three macro-elements essential for plants and animals. The ratios K : Mg or K :  (Ca   Mg) are viewed as indices of physiological status in livestock animals. In plants, Ca, Mg and K concentrations can vary with climate in terrestrial ecosystems. Here, with a widespread tree species (Chinese cork oak, Quercus variabilis Blume) and an acorn predator (the weevil Curculio davidi Fairmaire), we investigate how K, Ca and Mg vary in soils, plant tissues (leaves and acorns) and a consumer (herbivore insects) with climatic variables induced by latitude (LAT) across the temperate–subtropical areas of eastern China. Concentrations of K, Ca and Mg in soils, leaves, acorns and weevil larvae showed different degrees of variation across the study area, but only Mg concentration increased significantly with rising LAT across all four trophic levels, albeit with varying slopes. With rising mean annual temperature (MAT) and precipitation (MAP), soil Ca significantly decreased, as did leaf and acorn K concentrations, whereas all four tropic levels showed significant decreases in Mg content with both MAT and MAP (P < 0.05–0.001). Leaf and acorn Ca : Mg showed significant relationships with LAT and MAT (P < 0.05–0.01). The K : (Mg   Ca) ratio in soils and weevil larvae increased linearly with MAP (P < 0.05), and acorn K : (Mg   Ca) ratio varied in a concave manner (P < 0.001). Our results suggest that variations of Ca, Mg and K in plant tissues and weevil larva across a study area of 20° LAT range were largely driven by climatic factors, and that Mg concentration changes in all four trophic levels with climate (and LAT) largely drive changes in soil, plant and consumer ratios between Mg, Ca and/or K. These results provide information on possible effects of climate change on nutrient dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems.

© CSIRO 2015
Xiao Sun, Andrea Rosanoff, and Chunjiang Liu "Across-trophic variation of potassium, calcium and magnesium stoichiometric traits in a parasitism food chain across temperate and subtropical biomes," Crop and Pasture Science 66(12), 1290-1297, (21 December 2015). https://doi.org/10.1071/CP15090
Received: 15 March 2015; Accepted: 1 October 2015; Published: 21 December 2015
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