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Critical periods for impact of climate-warming on early seedling establishment in subarctic tundra
Research Group Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.
Climate Impacts Research Centre, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University, PO Box 62, SE- 98107, Abisko, Sweden.
Climate Impacts Research Centre, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University, PO Box 62, SE- 98107, Abisko, Sweden.
Climate Impacts Research Centre, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umeå University, PO Box 62, SE- 98107, Abisko, Sweden. (Research Group Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium ; Arcum)
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2010 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 15, no 11, 2662-2680 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate warming is expected to shift bioclimatic zones and plant species distribution. Yet, few studies have explored whether seedling establishment is a possible bottleneck for future migration and population resilience. We test how warming affects the early stages of seedling establishment in 10 plant species in subarctic tundra. To zoom into the life phases where the effects of warming actually take place, we used a novel approach of breaking down the whole-season warming effect into full factorial combination of early-, mid-, and late-season warming periods. Seeds were sown in containers placed under field conditions in subarctic heath and were exposed to 3 °C elevation of surface temperature and 30% addition of summer precipitation relative to ambient. Heating was achieved with Free Air Temperature Increase systems. Whole-season heating reduced germination and establishment, significantly in four out of 10 species. The whole-season warming effect originated from additive effects of individual periods, although some of the periods had disproportionally stronger influence. Early-germinating species were susceptible to warming; the critical phases were early summer for germination and mid summer for seedling survival. Graminoids, which emerged later, were less susceptible although some negative effects during late summer were observed. Some species with intermediate germination time were affected by all periods of warming. Addition of water generally could not mitigate the negative effects of whole-season heating, but at individual species level both strengthening and amelioration of these negative effects were observed. We conclude that summer warming is likely to constrain seedling recruitment in open micro sites, which is a common seed regeneration niche in tundra ecosystem. Importantly, we described both significant temporal and species-specific variation in the sensitivity of seedling establishment to warming which needs to be taken into consideration when modelling population dynamics and vegetation transitions in a warmer climate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 15, no 11, 2662-2680 p.
Keyword [en]
arctic, climate change, FATI, median germination time, mortality, precipitation, recruitment, regeneration from seedlings, seed germination, seedling establishment
National Category
Ecology Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-31591DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01947.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-31591DiVA: diva2:293405
Available from: 2010-02-11 Created: 2010-02-11 Last updated: 2016-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Milbau, Ann

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