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Root phenology unresponsive to earlier snowmelt despite advanced above-ground phenology in two subarctic plant communities
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Biodiversity and Natural Environment, Research Institute for Nature and Forest INBO, Kliniekstraat 25,1070 Brussels, Belgium.
2017 (English)In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 31, no 7, 1493-1502 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Earlier snowmelt at high latitudes advances above-ground plant phenology, thereby affecting water, nutrient and carbon cycles. Despite the key role of fine roots in these ecosystem processes, phenological responses to earlier snowmelt have never been assessed below-ground. 2. We experimentally advanced snowmelt in two contrasting plant community types (heath and meadow) in northern Sweden and measured above- and below-ground phenology (leaf-out, flowering and fine root growth). We expected earlier snowmelt to advance both above- and below-ground phenology, and shrub-dominated heath to be more responsive than meadow. 3. Snow melted on average 9 days earlier in the manipulated plots than in controls, and soil temperatures were on average 0.9 degrees C higher during the snowmelt period of 3 weeks. This resulted in small advances in above-ground phenology, but contrary to our expectations, root phenology was unresponsive, with root growth generally starting before leaf-out. These responses to the snowmelt treatment were similar in both plant community types, despite strong differences in dominating plant functional types and root properties, such as root length and turnover. 4. The lack of a response in root phenology, despite warmer soil temperatures and above-ground phenological advances, adds evidence that above-ground plant responses might not be directly translated to below-ground plant responses, and that our understanding of factors driving below-ground phenology is still limited, although of major importance for water, nutrient and carbon cycling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2017. Vol. 31, no 7, 1493-1502 p.
Keyword [en]
alpine, arctic, climate change, fine roots, phenology, root growth, root production, snowmelt
National Category
Botany Soil Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138548DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12853ISI: 000404860200014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-138548DiVA: diva2:1141464
Available from: 2017-09-14 Created: 2017-09-14 Last updated: 2017-09-14Bibliographically approved

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Blume-Werry, GescheJansson, RolandMilbau, Ann
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