Project: Interplant nitrogen capture and feedback of hemiparasite Santalum


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Principal investigators: Lu, Junkun

Associated with: Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry

Project Summary:

Santalum album (sandalwood) is a precious hemiparasite, which partially rely on their host plants to take up nutrients through the haustorium (a outgrowth organ on roots), especially for nitrogenous compounds. The mixed plantation of sandalwood with N2-fixing species (e.g., Acacia confusa and Dalbergia odorifera) is popular in southern China due to their N2-fixation capacity of host plants to provide the sandalwood with abundant nitrogen (N). However, the community-level effects of sandalwood concerning N capture and feedback are often ignored. Under field conditions, the 15N natural abundance technique will be firstly used to monitor N2-fixation capacity of host N2-fixing plants, and the 15N enrichment labelling technique will be then used to track potential interplant N movement and effects of N2-fixation on such N transfers from N2-fixing hosts A. confusa and D. odorifera to its hemiparasite sandalwood, and verse visa. Finally, using the litterbag method 15N-labeled of sandalwood litter will be added to field plots for quantifying the uptake and translocation of N between plant species within a plant community. Our objectives are not only to improve our better understanding of the physiological interactions in resource facilitation between hemiparasite
sandalwood and its hosts, but also to provide insights into promising mixed-plantation patterns for the production and restoration of precious tropical tree forests in south China.