iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Response of Chinese sea buckthorn clonal growth and photosynthetic physiological mechanisms toward a soil moisture gradient

Shuangcheng Bai (1), Kaihong Nie (1), Shengli Ji (1), Shi Chen (1), Zengyu Yao (1-2), Genqian Li (1)   , Cuiping Tang (3), Feng Guo (4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 4, Pages 337-343 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3564-014
Published: Jul 15, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Research Articles

Studies have reported on the regulation of clonal growth in Chinese sea buckthorn in response to environmental resource availability, but these studies have been limited to external mechanisms. In this report, we controlled irrigation to generate a soil moisture gradient in order to examine the photosynthetic physiological mechanisms regulating clonal growth in this species. The results indicated that as irrigation intensity increased, the soil water content increased vertically and tissue water content first increased and then decreased. Furthermore, Rubisco activase (RCA) and Mg-chelatase H subunit (CHLH) gene expression levels, photosynthetic capacity (net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, chlorophyll content, and stomatal conductance), and clonal growth (ramet growth, clonal proliferation, clonal propagation) all showed a quadratic parabolic change (i.e., first increasing and then decreasing). In addition, gene expression levels and tissue water content, photosynthetic capacity and gene expression levels, and clonal growth and photosynthetic capacity were all significantly positively correlated. When irrigation intensity (soil water content) is exceedingly low or high, the tissue water content is also low, RCA and CHLH gene expression levels are low, photosynthetic capacity is weak, clonal growth ability is inhibited, and clonal growth layout tends toward the “guerrilla type.” This type manifests as fewer and smaller clonal daughter ramets that are sparsely distributed with reduced clonal organ extension ability and branching intensity. When irrigation intensity (soil water content) is moderate, the tissue water content, gene expression levels, and photosynthetic capacity is high, clonal growth ability is completely uninhibited, and the clonal growth layout tends toward the “aggregated type.” This type is associated with numerous large clonal daughter ramets that are densely distributed with high clonal organ extension ability and branching intensity. Therefore, as irrigation intensity continuously changes from inordinately low to moderate to exceedingly high, Chinese sea buckthorn regulates clonal growth by photosynthetic capacity through photosynthetic gene expression. This results in a clonal growth layout continuum of “guerrilla-aggregated-guerrilla” that depends on irrigation intensity.


Clonal Growth, Irrigation Intensity, Tissue Water Content, Photosynthetic Genes, RCA and CHLH Gene Expression, Hippophae rhamnoides ssp. sinensis, Mu Us Sandy Land

Authors’ address

Shuangcheng Bai 0000-0002-2754-6527
Kaihong Nie
Shengli Ji
Shi Chen
Zengyu Yao 0000-0001-8193-6043
Genqian Li
College of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming Yunnan 650224 (China)
Zengyu Yao 0000-0001-8193-6043
Key Laboratory of Forest Resources Conservation and Utilization in the Southwest Mountains of China - Southwest Forestry University, Ministry of Education, Kunming (China)
Cuiping Tang
Wanyuan Forestry Science and Technology Extension Center, Dazhou, Sichuan 635000 (China)
Feng Guo
Qianxinan Bouyei and Miao Nationality Autonomous Prefectures Bureau of Forestry, Xingyi, Guizhou 562400 (China)

Corresponding author

Genqian Li


Bai S, Nie K, Ji S, Chen S, Yao Z, Li G, Tang C, Guo F (2021). Response of Chinese sea buckthorn clonal growth and photosynthetic physiological mechanisms toward a soil moisture gradient. iForest 14: 337-343. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3564-014

Academic Editor

Silvano Fares

Paper history

Received: Jun 25, 2020
Accepted: May 19, 2021

First online: Jul 15, 2021
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2021
Publication Time: 1.90 months

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