Large-scale patterns of stomatal traits in Tibetan and Mongolian grassland species

Xiaoxia Yang, Ya Yang, Chengjun Ji, Tao Feng, Yue Shi, Li Lin, Jianjing Ma, Jin Sheng He

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19 Scopus citations


We aimed to disentangle the influence of environmental variables on the spatial patterns in stomatal occurrence and stomatal traits. We surveyed the stomatal occurrence and the stomatal length (SL), density (SD) and index (SI) of 99 species in 150 grassland sites on the Tibetan and Inner Mongolian Plateau to explore their spatial patterns and evaluate the influence of climate. Of all species studied, two thirds were amphistomatous. The species from the Tibetan Plateau had larger but fewer stomata than those from Inner Mongolia. Among the climate factors examined, temperature and insolation affected SD, SI and SL, whereas the CO2 partial pressure and the relative humidity affected SD. The climatic variables showed similar effects on the spatial variation of the adaxial and abaxial stomatal traits. We conclude that the low temperature and high insolation at high altitudes may be responsible for the larger and fewer stomata in plants on the Tibetan Plateau. The stomatal parameters that are presented here can be used to model the gas exchanges at the ecosystem scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-132
Number of pages11
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the members of the Peking University sampling teams for assistance in data collection, and we thank Dongmei Jin for constructing the phylogenetic tree. The authors are grateful to Jacob Weiner for the helpful discussions and comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 31025005 and 31021001 ) and the Major State Basic Research Development Program of China ( 2010CB950602 ).


  • Chinese grasslands
  • Inner mongolia
  • Leaf epidermal cell
  • Stomatal index
  • Tibetan plateau


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