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Temperature effects on forest herbs assessed by warming and transplant experiments along a latitudinal gradient

  • Slow-colonizing forest understorey plants are probably not able to rapidly adjust their distribution range following large-scale climate change. Therefore, the acclimation potential to climate change within their actual occupied habitats will likely be key for their short-and long-term persistence. We combined transplant experiments along a latitudinal gradient with open-top chambers to assess the effects of temperature on phenology, growth and reproductive performance of multiple populations of slow-colonizing understorey plants, using the spring flowering geophytic forb Anemone nemorosa and the early summer flowering grass Milium effusum as study species. In both species, emergence time and start of flowering clearly advanced with increasing temperatures. Vegetative growth (plant height, aboveground biomass) and reproductive success (seed mass, seed germination and germinable seed output) of A. nemorosa benefited from higher temperatures. Climate warming may thus increase future competitive ability and colonization rates of thisSlow-colonizing forest understorey plants are probably not able to rapidly adjust their distribution range following large-scale climate change. Therefore, the acclimation potential to climate change within their actual occupied habitats will likely be key for their short-and long-term persistence. We combined transplant experiments along a latitudinal gradient with open-top chambers to assess the effects of temperature on phenology, growth and reproductive performance of multiple populations of slow-colonizing understorey plants, using the spring flowering geophytic forb Anemone nemorosa and the early summer flowering grass Milium effusum as study species. In both species, emergence time and start of flowering clearly advanced with increasing temperatures. Vegetative growth (plant height, aboveground biomass) and reproductive success (seed mass, seed germination and germinable seed output) of A. nemorosa benefited from higher temperatures. Climate warming may thus increase future competitive ability and colonization rates of this species. Apart from the effects on phenology, growth and reproductive performance of M. effusum generally decreased when transplanted southwards (e. g., plant size and number of individuals decreased towards the south) and was probably more limited by light availability in the south. Specific leaf area of both species increased when transplanted southwards, but decreased with open-top chamber installation in A. nemorosa. In general, individuals of both species transplanted at the home site performed best, suggesting local adaptation. We conclude that contrasting understorey plants may display divergent plasticity in response to changing temperatures which may alter future understorey community dynamics.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Pieter De Frenne, Jorg Brunet, Anna Shevtsova, Annette Kolb, Bente J. Graae, Olivier Chabrerie, Sara Ao Cousins, Guillaume Decocq, An De Schrijver, Martin Diekmann, Robert Gruwez, Thilo Heinken, Martin Hermy, Christer Nilsson, Sharon Stanton, Wesley Tack, Justin Willaert, Kris Verheyen
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02449.x
ISSN:1354-1013 (print)
Parent Title (English):Global change biology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2011
Year of Completion:2011
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:climate change; common garden experiment; forest understorey; latitude; local adaptation; open-top chambers; phenotypic plasticity; pot experiment
Volume:17
Issue:10
Pagenumber:14
First Page:3240
Last Page:3253
Funder:Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO); Kempe Foundation; Petra and Karl Erik Hedborg Foundation; EU [Fp6 506004]; Ghent University; Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT-Vlaanderen)
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert