Effects of wet atmospheric nitrogen deposition on epiphytic lichens in the subtropical forests of Central China: Evaluation of the lichen food supply and quality of two endangered primates

C. H. Wang, R. Hou, M. Wang, G. He, B. G. Li, R. L. Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the last few decades, the threat posed to biodiversity and ecosystem function by atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition has been increasingly recognized. The disturbed nutrient balance and species composition of plants induced by higher N deposition can impact the biodiversity of the organisms that consume the plants. In this research, we implemented several experiments to estimate the effects of increased N deposition on the growth, survival, and nutrients of the dominant epiphytic lichens in the subtropical mountains in Central China to assess the lichen food amount and nutritional quality for two endangered primates endemic to China. Our results indicated that the thallus growth and propagule survival of the lichens were significantly decreased when nitrogen addition changed from 6.25 to 50.0 kg N·ha−1·y−1; it was also shown that lichen biomass could be decreased by 11.2%–70.2% when the deposition addition exceeded 6.25 kg N·ha−1·y−1. Further, our study revealed that increased nitrogen deposition also reduced the nutritional quality of the lichens via reducing the soluble protein and soluble sugar levels and increasing the fiber content, which would substantially affect the diet selection of the plants consumers in the region, particularly the populations of the two lichen-eating endangered primate species, Rhinopithecus roxellana and R. bieti. Our experimental study suggested that the nitrogen pollution derived from anthropogenic activities could cause cascading effects for the whole forest ecosystem of Central China; thus, more studies about nitrogen deposition in this region are required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110128
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Volume190
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of wet atmospheric nitrogen deposition on epiphytic lichens in the subtropical forests of Central China: Evaluation of the lichen food supply and quality of two endangered primates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this