种子生态与沙地植被研究组隶属于中国科学院植物研究所植被与环境变化国家重点实验室，研究组组长黄振英 研究员。研究组的主要工作是:（1）植物生理生态学：利用生理学、生物化学和分子生物学手段，重点研究植物种子的发育、休眠和萌发，幼苗发育与生长过程中对环境响应的生理生态学机理,（2）种子生态学，主要包括温带干旱生态系统的种群更新机制、种子性状的适应与进化、干旱区植物的生活史对策以及沙地植物生活史对变化环境的响应，（3）沙地植被资源开发与生态治理， 主要包括沙地植被资源开发和沙地生态治理。
叶学华老师在草地植物共存机制方面的研究被Journal of Vegetation Science接收发表
Ye XH et al. 2016. differential plant species responses to interactions of sand burial, precipitation enhancement and climatic variation promote co-existence in Chinese stepe vegetation.
Aims: Sand burial and precipitation play important roles in vegetation of inland deserts and desertified areas, and both are under strong influence of climate and land-use change. Sand deposition and precipitation both vary greatly in space and time, and different plant species, with diverse adaptations, occupy different niches along spatial gradients in the combination of sand and water availability dynamics.We hypothesized that species specificity in spatial and temporal niche occupation along such gradients is a mechanism for their co-existence and, thereby, a driver and stabilizer of biodiversity in dry, sandy areas.
Location: Ordos Plateau, China.
Methods: We conducted a 2-yr field experiment with factorial treatments of precipitation (control, slight enhancement, strong enhancement) and sand addition (control, medium addition, large addition). Plant cover of the six dominant species was followed over different seasons, as we expected different species to benefit from different treatments in different seasons and years with different weather regimes.
Results: Sand burial alone significantly affected plant cover of all six dominant species, while precipitation enhancement had no significant effect. Effects of sand burial on plant cover changed overall during the two hydrologically contrasting years. Our key finding was that thereweremultiple significant two- and three-way interactions between species, sand burial and precipitation enhancement on plant cover, while there were also multiple two- and three-way interactions involving species, sand burial or precipitation treatment with year and/or season.
Conclusion: Our results supported our hypothesis, i.e. the co-existence of species in a semi-arid sand dune can be explained from the different niches they occupy in terms of seasonal and year-to-year variation in precipitation in combination with sand deposition regime. The interactions of these drivers on plant coverwith experimental enhancement of precipitation, mimicking a realistic scenario for this region, suggest that shifts in species composition are to be expected this century.More generally, our findings advance our understanding of what drives species co-existence and thereby biodiversity, nowand in the future.