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Patterns of phenotypic trait variation in two temperate forest herbs along a broad climatic gradient
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2015 (English)In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 216, no 11, 1523-1536 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Phenotypic trait variation plays a major role in the response of plants to global environmental change, particularly in species with low migration capabilities and recruitment success. However, little is known about the variation of functional traits within populations and about differences in this variation on larger spatial scales. In a first approach, we therefore related trait expression to climate and local environmental conditions, studying two temperate forest herbs, Milium effusum and Stachys sylvatica, along a similar to 1800-2500 km latitudinal gradient. Within each of 9-10 regions in six European countries, we collected data from six populations of each species and recorded several variables in each region (temperature, precipitation) and population (light availability, soil parameters). For each plant, we measured height, leaf area, specific leaf area, seed mass and the number of seeds and examined environmental effects on within-population trait variation as well as on trait means. Most importantly, trait variation differed both between and within populations. Species, however, differed in their response. Intrapopulation variation in Milium was consistently positively affected by higher mean temperatures and precipitation as well as by more fertile local soil conditions, suggesting that more productive conditions may select for larger phenotypic variation. In Stachys, particularly light availability positively influenced trait variation, whereas local soil conditions had no consistent effects. Generally, our study emphasises that intra-population variation may differ considerably across larger scales-due to phenotypic plasticity and/or underlying genetic diversity-possibly affecting species response to global environmental change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 216, no 11, 1523-1536 p.
Keyword [en]
Climate change, Global environmental change, Milium effusum, Phenotypic plasticity, Intraspecific riation, Stachys sylvatica
National Category
Climate Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113444DOI: 10.1007/s11258-015-0534-0ISI: 000365170900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-113444DiVA: diva2:885175
Available from: 2015-12-18 Created: 2015-12-18 Last updated: 2015-12-18Bibliographically approved

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Shevtsova, Anna
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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics
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