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Community and species-specific responses of plant traits to 23 years of experimental warming across subarctic tundra plant communities
Responsible organisation
2017 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 °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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group UK , 2017. Vol. 7
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-3929DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-02595-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-3929DiVA: diva2:1165936
Conference
London
Note

2595[PII]; 28566722[pmid]

Available from: 2017-12-14 Created: 2017-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-14

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5451416/
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