Plasticity in above- and belowground resource acquisition traits in response to single and multiple environmental factors in three tree species

Ecology and Evolution
Grégoire T FreschetDavid A Wardle

Abstract

Functional trait plasticity is a major component of plant adjustment to environmental stresses. Here, we explore how multiple local environmental gradients in resources required by plants (light, water, and nutrients) and soil disturbance together influence the direction and amplitude of intraspecific changes in leaf and fine root traits that facilitate capture of these resources. We measured population-level analogous above- and belowground traits related to resource acquisition, i.e. "specific leaf area"-"specific root length" (SLA-SRL), and leaf and root N, P, and dry matter content (DMC), on three dominant understory tree species with contrasting carbon and nutrient economics across 15 plots in a temperate forest influenced by burrowing seabirds. We observed similar responses of the three species to the same single environmental influences, but partially species-specific responses to combinations of influences. The strength of intraspecific above- and belowground trait responses appeared unrelated to species resource acquisition strategy. Finally, most analogous leaf and root traits (SLA vs. SRL, and leaf versus root P and DMC) were controlled by contrasting environmental influences. The decoupled responses of above- and be...Continue Reading

References

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Citations

Oct 22, 2014·PloS One·Rachel M Mitchell, Jonathan D Bakker
Oct 10, 2018·The New Phytologist·Adrienne B Keller, Richard P Phillips
Nov 4, 2019·Environmental Monitoring and Assessment·Viera PaganováHelena Lichtnerová
Jul 11, 2018·Frontiers in Plant Science·Fabiane M Mundim, Elizabeth G Pringle
Sep 24, 2020·Annals of Botany·Guy M TaseskiWilliam K Cornwell

Methods Mentioned

BETA
environmental stresses
PCA
SMA

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