Morphological adaptations to drought and reproductive strategy of the moss Syntrichia caninervis in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China

Yunpu Zheng, Ming Xu, Jiancheng Zhao, Bingchang Zhang, Shuqing Bei, Lihua Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The biological soil crusts (BSCs) in the Gurbantunggut Desert, the largest fixed and semi-fixed desert in China, feature moss-dominated BSCs, which play an indispensable role in sand fixation. Syntrichia caninervis Mitt. (S. caninervis) serves as one of the most common species in BSCs in the desert. In this study we examined the morphological structure of S. caninervis from leafy gametophyte to protonema using light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). We also examined the relationships between the morphological structure of S. caninervis and environmental factors. We found that: (1) this moss species is commonly tufted on the sand surface, and its leaves are folded upwards and twisted around the stem under dry conditions; (2) the cells on both upper and lower leaf surfaces have C-shaped dark papillae, which may reflect sunlight to reduce the damage from high temperature; (3) the leaf costais excurrent, forming an awn with forked teeth; and (4) the protonema cells are small and thickset with thick cell walls and the cytoplasm is highly concentrated with a small vacuole. In addition, we also found that the protonema cells always form pouches on the tip of the mother cells during the process of cell polarization. Our results suggest that S. caninervis has, through its life cycle, several morphological and structural characteristics to adapt to dry environmental conditions. These morphological features of S. caninervis may also be found in other deserts in the world due to the world-wide distribution of the species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
JournalArid Land Research and Management
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

Fingerprint

reproductive strategy
moss
soil crust
mosses and liverworts
deserts
protonemata
desert
soil crusts
drought
China
cells
gametophyte
sand
cytoplasm
leaves
tooth
fixation
dry environmental conditions
pouches
environmental factor

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Morphological structure
  • Protonema development
  • Reproductive strategy
  • Syntrichia caninervis Mitt

Cite this

Zheng, Yunpu ; Xu, Ming ; Zhao, Jiancheng ; Zhang, Bingchang ; Bei, Shuqing ; Hao, Lihua. / Morphological adaptations to drought and reproductive strategy of the moss Syntrichia caninervis in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China. In: Arid Land Research and Management. 2011 ; Vol. 25, No. 2. pp. 116-127.
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Morphological adaptations to drought and reproductive strategy of the moss Syntrichia caninervis in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China. / Zheng, Yunpu; Xu, Ming; Zhao, Jiancheng; Zhang, Bingchang; Bei, Shuqing; Hao, Lihua.

In: Arid Land Research and Management, Vol. 25, No. 2, 01.04.2011, p. 116-127.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Bei, Shuqing

AU - Hao, Lihua

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