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Community and species-specific responses of plant traits to 23 years of experimental warming across subarctic tundra plant communities

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare G. Baruah
Ulf Molau
Y. Bai
J. M. Alatalo
Publicerad i Scientific Reports
Volym 7
ISSN 2045-2322
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för biologi och miljövetenskap
Språk English
Länkar doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-02595-2
Ämnesord simulated global change, climate-change, leaf traits, environmental-change, functional traits, alpine meadow, cassiope-tetragona, contrasting short, vascular plants, northern china, Science & Technology - Other Topics
Ämneskategorier Biologiska vetenskaper

Sammanfattning

To improve understanding of how global warming may affect competitive interactions among plants, information on the responses of plant functional traits across species to long-term warming is needed. Here we report the effect of 23 years of experimental warming on plant traits across four different alpine subarctic plant communities: tussock tundra, Dryas heath, dry heath and wet meadow. Open-top chambers (OTCs) were used to passively warm the vegetation by 1.5-3 degrees C. Changes in leaf width, leaf length and plant height of 22 vascular plant species were measured. Long-term warming significantly affected all plant traits. Overall, plant species were taller, with longer and wider leaves, compared with control plots, indicating an increase in biomass in warmed plots, with 13 species having significant increases in at least one trait and only three species having negative responses. The response varied among species and plant community in which the species was sampled, indicating community-warming interactions. Thus, plant trait responses are both species- and community-specific. Importantly, we show that there is likely to be great variation between plant species in their ability to maintain positive growth responses over the longer term, which might cause shifts in their relative competitive ability.

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