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.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 66 • No. 12