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Coordination of leaf functional traits under climatic warming in an arid ecosystem
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Yu HY, Chen YT, Zhou GS*, Xu ZZ*
PubYear : 2022
Volume : 22  Issue : 1
Publication Name : BMC Plant Biology
Page number : 439
Abstract : 

Background

Climatic warming is increasing regionally and globally, and results concerning warming and its consequent drought impacts have been reported extensively. However, due to a lack of quantitative analysis of warming severities, it is still unclear how warming and warming-induced drought influence leaf functional traits, particularly how the traits coordinate with each other to cope with climatic change. To address these uncertainties, we performed a field experiment with ambient, moderate and severe warming regimes in an arid ecosystem over 4 years.

Results

Severe warming significantly reduced the specific leaf area and net photosynthetic rate with a relatively stable change and even enhancement under moderate warming, especially showing species-specific performance. The current results largely indicate that a coordinated trade-off can exist between plant functional traits in plant communities in a dryland ecosystem under ambient temperature conditions, which is strongly amplified by moderate warming but diminished or even eliminated by severe warming. Based on the present findings and recent results in the relevant literature, we advance the ecological conceptual models (e.g., LES and CSR) in the response to climatic warming in arid grassland communities, where the few key species play a crucial role by balancing their functional performances to cope with environmental change.

Conclusion

Our results highlight the importance of coordination and/or trade-off between leaf functional traits for understanding patterns of climatic change-induced vegetation degradation and suggest that the plant community composition in these drylands could be shifted under future climate change.


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