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  • 1. Balogianni, Vasiliki G.
    et al.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Wilson, Scott D.
    Root production in contrasting ecosystems: the impact of rhizotron sampling frequency2016In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 217, no 11, p. 1359-1367Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite their critical role in every terrestrial ecosystem, fine root production and mortality have not been widely compared among systems due to the practical difficulties of belowground research. We examined fine root production and mortality among five contrasting sites: native and invaded grassland in eastern Montana, USA, aspen forest in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, and birch forest and tundra in northern Sweden. Additionally, we investigated the importance of minirhizotron sampling interval on measures of root production and mortality by comparing measures produced from 1-, 7-, 14-, and 21-day sample intervals. Root length and mortality varied significantly among sites, with invaded grassland having the greatest root length (> 2 x than any other site) and significantly greater root mortality than native grassland (54 %). In contrast, there were no significant differences in root production among the sites. Sample interval had no significant influence on root production or mortality. Minirhizotron sampling intervals up to 3 weeks did not underestimate the measures of root production and mortality in comparison to measures derived from shorter sampling intervals, regardless of the site studied. The results suggest that 3 weeks can be an accurate and efficient sample interval when studying root production and mortality with minirhizotrons.

  • 2.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    The hidden life of plants: fine root dynamics in northern ecosystems2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Fine roots constitute a large part of the primary production in northern (arctic and boreal) ecosystems, and are key players in ecosystem fluxes of water, nutrients and carbon. Data on root dynamics are generally rare, especially so in northern ecosystems. However, those ecosystems undergo the most rapid climatic changes on the planet and a profound understanding of form, function and dynamics of roots in such ecosystems is essential.

    This thesis aimed to advance our knowledge about fine root dynamics in northern ecosystems, with a focus on fine root phenology in natural plant communities and how climate change might alter it. Factors considered included thickness and duration of snow cover, thawing of permafrost, as well as natural gradients in temperature. Experiments and observational studies were located around Abisko (68°21' N, 18°45' E), and in a boreal forest close to Vindeln (64°14'N, 19°46'E), northern Sweden. Root responses included root growth, total root length, and root litter input, always involving seasonal changes therein, measured with minirhizotrons. Root biomass was also determined with destructive soil sampling. Additionally, aboveground response parameters, such as phenology and growth, and environmental parameters, such as air and soil temperatures, were assessed.

    This thesis reveals that aboveground patterns or responses cannot be directly translated belowground and urges a decoupling of above- and belowground phenology in terrestrial biosphere models. Specifically, root growth occurred outside of the photosynthetically active period of tundra plants. Moreover, patterns observed in arctic and boreal ecosystems diverged from those of temperate systems, and models including root parameters may thus need specific parameterization for northern ecosystems. In addition, this thesis showed that plant communities differ in root properties, and that changes in plant community compositions can thus induce changes in root dynamics and functioning. This underlines the importance of a thorough understanding of root dynamics in different plant community types in order to understand and predict how changes in plant communities in response to climate change will translate into root dynamics. Overall, this thesis describes root dynamics in response to a variety of factors, because a deeper knowledge about root dynamics will enable a better understanding of ecosystem processes, as well as improve model prediction of how northern ecosystems will respond to climate change.

  • 3.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Jansson, Roland
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Milbau, Ann
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Root phenology unresponsive to earlier snowmelt despite advanced aboveground phenology in two subarctic plant communitiesManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Earlier snowmelt at high latitudes advances aboveground 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 belowground. We experimentally advanced snowmelt in two contrasting plant community types (heath and meadow) in northern Sweden and measured above- and belowground phenology (leaf-out, flowering and fine root growth). We expected earlier snowmelt to advance both above- and belowground phenology, and shrub-dominated heath to be more responsive than meadow. Snow melted on average nine days earlier in the manipulated plots than in controls, and soil temperatures were on average 0.9 °C higher during the snowmelt period of three weeks. This resulted in small advances in aboveground phenology, but contrary to our expectations, root phenology was unresponsive, with root growth generally starting before leaf-out. Both plant community types responded similarly to the snowmelt treatment, despite strong differences in dominating plant functional types, and root properties, such as root length and turnover. The lack of a response in root phenology, despite warmer soil temperatures and aboveground phenological advances, adds evidence that aboveground plant responses might not be directly translated to belowground plant responses, and that our understanding of factors driving belowground phenology is still limited, although of major importance for water, nutrient and carbon cycling.

  • 4.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Jansson, Roland
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Milbau, Ann
    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.
    Root phenology unresponsive to earlier snowmelt despite advanced above-ground phenology in two subarctic plant communities2017In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 31, no 7, p. 1493-1502Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 5.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Kreyling, Juergen
    Greifswald University.
    Laudon, Hjalmar
    Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet Umeå.
    Milbau, Ann
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Research Institute for Nature and Forest INBO, Kliniekstraat 25, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.
    Short-term climate change manipulation effects do not scale up to long-term legacies: effects of an absent snow cover on boreal forest plants2016In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, E-ISSN 1365-2745, Vol. 104, no 6, p. 1638-1648Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    1. Despite time-lags and nonlinearity in ecological processes, the majority of our knowledge about ecosystem responses to long-term changes in climate originates from relatively short-term experiments.

    2. We utilized the longest ongoing snow removal experiment in the world and an additional set of new plots at the same location in northern Sweden to simultaneously measure the effects of longterm (11 winters) and short-term (1 winter) absence of snow cover on boreal forest understorey plants, including the effects on root growth and phenology.

    3. Short-term absence of snow reduced vascular plant cover in the understorey by 42%, reduced fine root biomass by 16%, reduced shoot growth by up to 53% and induced tissue damage on two common dwarf shrubs. In the long-term manipulation, more substantial effects on understorey plant cover (92% reduced) and standing fine root biomass (39% reduced) were observed, whereas other response parameters, such as tissue damage, were observed less. Fine root growth was generally reduced, and its initiation delayed by c. 3 (short-term) to 6 weeks (long-term manipulation).

    4. Synthesis. We show that one extreme winter with a reduced snow cover can already induce ecologically significant alterations. We also show that long-term changes were smaller than suggested by an extrapolation of short-term manipulation results (using a constant proportional decline). In addition, some of those negative responses, such as frost damage and shoot growth, were even absolutely stronger in the short-term compared to the long-term manipulation. This suggests adaptation or survival of only those individuals that are able to cope with these extreme winter conditions, and that the short-term manipulation alone would overpredict long-term impacts. These results highlight both the ecological importance of snow cover in this boreal forest, and the value of combining short- and long-term experiments side by side in climate change research.

  • 6.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Greifswald University, Greifswald, Germany.
    Lindén, Elin
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Andresen, Lisa
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Classen, Aimée T.
    Sanders, Nathan J.
    von Oppen, Jonathan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Sundqvist, Maja K.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, The Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K, Denmark.
    Proportion of fine roots, but not plant biomass allocation below ground, increases with elevation in arctic tundra2018In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 29, no 2, p. 226-235Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Questions: Roots represent a considerable proportion of biomass, primary production and litter input in arctic tundra, and plant allocation of biomass to above- or below-ground tissue in response to climate change is a key factor in the future C balance of these ecosystems. According to optimality theory plants allocate C to the above- or below-ground structure that captures the most limiting resource. We used an elevational gradient to test this theory and as a space-for-time substitution to inform on tundra carbon allocation patterns under a shifting climate, by exploring if increasing elevation was positively related to the root:shoot ratio, as well as a larger plant allocation to adsorptive over storage roots.

    Location: Arctic tundra heath dominated by Empetrum hermaphroditum close to Abisko, Sweden.

    Methods: We measured root:shoot and fine:coarse root ratios of the plant communities along an elevational gradient by sampling above- and below-ground biomass, further separating root biomass into fine (<1 mm) and coarse roots.

    Results: Plant biomass was higher at the lower elevations, but the root:shoot ratio did not vary with elevation. Resource allocation to fine relative to coarse roots increased with elevation, resulting in a fine:coarse root ratio that more than doubled with increasing elevation.

    Conclusions: Contrary to previous works, the root:shoot ratio along this elevational gradient remained stable. However, communities along our study system were dominated by the same species at each elevation, which suggests that when changes in the root:shoot ratio occur with elevation these changes may be driven by differences in allocation patterns among species and thus turnover in plant community structure. Our results further reveal that the allocation of biomass to fine relative to coarse roots can differ between locations along an elevational gradient, even when overall above- vs below-ground biomass allocation does not. Given the functionally different roles of fine vs coarse roots this could have large implications for below-ground C cycling. Our results highlight the importance of direct effects vs indirect effects (such as changes in plant community composition and nutrient availability) of climate change for future C allocation above and below ground.

  • 7.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Milbau, Ann
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Teuber, Laurenz M.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Margareta, Johansson
    Lund University.
    Dorrepaal, Ellen
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Dwelling in the deep – permafrost thawing strongly increases plant root growth and root litter inputManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Plant roots play a key role in ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling. Climate warming induced thawing of permafrost exposes large amounts of carbon and nitrogen at greater soil depths that hitherto have been detached from plant influences. Whether plant roots can reach and interact with these carbon and nitrogen sources upon permafrost thaw remains unknown. Here, we use a long-term permafrost thaw experiment and a short-term deep fertilization experiment in northern Sweden to assess changes in vegetation composition and root dynamics (deep nitrogen uptake, root depth distribution, root growth and phenology, root mortality and litter input) related to permafrost thaw, both in active layer and in newly thawed permafrost. We show that Eriophorum vaginatum and Rubus chamaemorus, both relatively deep-rooting species, can take up nitrogen released at depth of permafrost thaw, despite the late release time in autumn when plant activity is expected to have ceased. Also, root dynamics changed drastically after a decade of experimental permafrost thaw. Total root length, root growth and root litter input all strongly increased, not only in the active layer but also in the newly thawed permafrost, and the timing of root growth was related to the seasonality of soil thaw. These responses were driven by Eriophorum vaginatum, which differed greatly in root dynamics compared to the other species and thus worked as an ecosystem engineer. This study demonstrates that soil organic matter currently locked-up at depth in permafrost is no longer detached from plant processes upon thaw. Given the pivotal role that roots have in the carbon cycle and the importance of the large carbon stocks in arctic soils, the changes observed here have the potential to feedback onto the global climate system.

  • 8.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Wilson, Scott D.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Biology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 0A2 Canada.
    Kreyling, Juergen
    Milbau, Ann
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Research Institute for Nature and Forest INBO, Kliniekstraat 25, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.
    The hidden season: growing season is 50% longer below than above ground along an arctic elevation gradient2016In: New Phytologist, ISSN 0028-646X, E-ISSN 1469-8137, Vol. 209, no 3, p. 978-986Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is compelling evidence from experiments and observations that climate warming prolongs the growing season in arctic regions. Until now, the start, peak, and end of the growing season, which are used to model influences of vegetation on biogeochemical cycles, were commonly quantified using above-ground phenological data. Yet, over 80% of the plant biomass in arctic regions can be below ground, and the timing of root growth affects biogeochemical processes by influencing plant water and nutrient uptake, soil carbon input and microbial activity. We measured timing of above- and below-ground production in three plant communities along an arctic elevation gradient over two growing seasons. Below-ground production peaked later in the season and was more temporally uniform than above-ground production. Most importantly, the growing season continued c. 50% longer below than above ground. Our results strongly suggest that traditional above-ground estimates of phenology in arctic regions, including remotely sensed information, are not as complete a representation of whole-plant production intensity or duration, as studies that include root phenology. We therefore argue for explicit consideration of root phenology in studies of carbon and nutrient cycling, in terrestrial biosphere models, and scenarios of how arctic ecosystems will respond to climate warming.

  • 9. De Long, Jonathan R.
    et al.
    Laudon, Hjalmar
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Kardol, Paul
    Nematode community resistant to deep soil frost in boreal forest soils2016In: Pedobiologia, ISSN 0031-4056, E-ISSN 1873-1511, Vol. 59, no 5-6, p. 243-251Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As global climate change advances, shifts in winter precipitation are becoming more common in high latitude ecosystems, resulting in less insulating snow cover and deeper soil frost. Long-term alterations to soil frost can impact on ecosystem processes such as decomposition, microbial activity and vegetation dynamics. In this study we utilized the longest running, well-characterized soil frost manipulation experiment in a boreal forest. We measured nematode family composition and feeding group abundances at four different soil layer depths from plots that had been subjected to deep soil frost for one and 11 years. The overall abundance of nematodes and the different feeding groups were unaffected by deep soil frost. However, a higher Maturity Index was weakly associated with deep soil frost (indicative of lower nutrient enrichment and more persister nematode (i.e., K-strategist) families), likely due to the loss of nutrients and reduced inputs from inhibited decomposition. Multivariate and regression analyses showed that most nematode families were weakly associated with dominant understory plant species and strongly associated with soil organic matter (SOM). This is probably the result of higher resource availability in the control plots, which is favorable to the nematode community. These results indicate that the nematode community was more strongly driven by the long-term indirect effects of deep soil frost on SOM as opposed to the direct effects. Our findings highlight that the indirect effects of altered winter precipitation and soil frost patterns may be more important than direct winter climate effects. Further, such indirect effects on SOM and the plant community that may affect the nematode community can only be seen in long-term experiments. Finally, given the critical role nematodes play in soil food webs and carbon and nutrient cycling, our results demonstrate the necessity of considering the response of nematodes to global climate change in boreal forest soils. 

  • 10.
    Irl, Severin D. H.
    et al.
    Univ Bayreuth, BayCEER, Dept Disturbance Ecol, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    Steinbauer, Manuel J.
    Univ Bayreuth, BayCEER, Dept Biogeog, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    Messinger, Jana
    Univ Bayreuth, BayCEER, Dept Biogeog, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Univ Bayreuth, BayCEER, Dept Biogeog, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    Palomares-Martinez, Angel
    Parque Nacl Caldera Taburiente, El Paso 38750, Spain.
    Beierkuhnlein, Carl
    Univ Bayreuth, BayCEER, Dept Biogeog, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    Jentsch, Anke
    Univ Bayreuth, BayCEER, Dept Disturbance Ecol, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
    Burned and devoured-Introduced herbivores, fire, and the endemic flora of the high-elevation ecosystem on La Palma, Canary Islands2014In: Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine research, ISSN 1523-0430, E-ISSN 1938-4246, Vol. 46, no 4, p. 859-869Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Novel disturbance regimes (e.g., introduced herbivores and fire) are among the major drivers of degradation in island ecosystems. High-elevation ecosystems (HEEs) on islands might be especially vulnerable to these disturbances due to high endemism. Here, data from an 11-year exclosure experiment in the HEE of La Palma (Canary Islands) are presented where mammalian herbivores have been introduced. We investigate the combined effect of herbivory and fire on total species richness, seedling richness, and seedling establishment on the whole system and a subset of highly endangered species (target species). Total species richness, seedling species richness, and seedling establishment decreased with herbivory. Five out of eight target species were exclusively found inside the exclosures indicating the negative impact of introduced herbivores on endemic high elevation flora. Target species were generally affected more negatively by introduced herbivores and were subject to significantly higher browsing pressure, probably owing to their lack of defense strategies. A natural wildfire that occurred six years before data sampling substantially increased total species richness and seedling richness in both herbivory exclosure and reference conditions. We conclude that species composition of the HEE has been severely altered by the introduction of non-native herbivores, even though fire seems to have a positive effect on this system.

  • 11.
    Krab, Eveline J.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Roennefarth, Jonas
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Greifswald University, Greifswald, Germany.
    Becher, Marina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Greifswald University, Greifswald, Germany.
    Keuper, Frida
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. INRA, AgroImpact UR1158, Barenton Bugny, France.
    Klaminder, Jonatan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Kreyling, Juergen
    Makoto, Kobayashi
    Milbau, Ann
    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, Brussels, Belgium.
    Dorrepaal, Ellen
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Winter warming effects on tundra shrub performance are species-specific and dependent on spring conditions2018In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, E-ISSN 1365-2745, Vol. 106, no 2, p. 599-612Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Climate change-driven increases in winter temperatures positively affect conditions for shrub growth in arctic tundra by decreasing plant frost damage and stimulation of nutrient availability. However, the extent to which shrubs may benefit from these conditions may be strongly dependent on the following spring climate. Species-specific differences in phenology and spring frost sensitivity likely affect shrub growth responses to warming. Additionally, effects of changes in winter and spring climate may differ over small spatial scales, as shrub growth may be dependent on natural variation in snow cover, shrub density and cryoturbation. We investigated the effects of winter warming and altered spring climate on growing-season performance of three common and widespread shrub species in cryoturbated non-sorted circle arctic tundra. By insulating sparsely vegetated non-sorted circles and parts of the surrounding heath with additional snow or gardening fleeces, we created two climate change scenarios: snow addition increased soil temperatures in autumn and winter and delayed snowmelt timing without increasing spring temperatures, whereas fleeces increased soil temperature similarly in autumn and winter, but created warmer spring conditions without altering snowmelt timing. Winter warming affected shrub performance, but the direction and magnitude were species-specific and dependent on spring conditions. Spring warming advanced, and later snowmelt delayed canopy green-up. The fleece treatment did not affect shoot growth and biomass in any shrub species despite decreasing leaf frost damage in Empetrum nigrum. Snow addition decreased frost damage and stimulated growth of Vaccinium vitis-idaea by c. 50%, while decreasing Betula nana growth (p < .1). All of these effects were consistent the mostly barren circles and surrounding heath. Synthesis. In cryoturbated arctic tundra, growth of Vaccinium vitis-idaea may substantially increase when a thicker snow cover delays snowmelt, whereas in longer term, warmer winters and springs may favour E. nigrum instead. This may affect shrub community composition and cover, with potentially far-reaching effects on arctic ecosystem functioning via its effects on cryoturbation, carbon cycling and trophic cascading. Our results highlight the importance of disentangling effects of winter and spring climate change timing and nature, as spring conditions are a crucial factor in determining the impact of winter warming on plant performance.

  • 12. Schwieger, Sarah
    et al.
    Kreyling, Juergen
    Milbau, Ann
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Autumnal warming does not change root phenology in two contrasting vegetation types of subarctic tundra2018In: Plant and Soil, ISSN 0032-079X, E-ISSN 1573-5036, Vol. 424, no 1-2, p. 145-156Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Root phenology is important in controlling carbon and nutrient fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, yet, remains largely unexplored, especially in the Arctic. We compared below- and aboveground phenology and ending of the growing season in two contrasting vegetation types of subarctic tundra: heath and meadow, and their response to experimental warming in autumn. Root phenology was measured in-situ with minirhizotrons and compared with aboveground phenology assessed with repeat digital photography. The end of the growing season, both below- and aboveground, was similar in meadow and heath and the belowground growing season ended later than aboveground in the two vegetation types. Root growth was higher and less equally distributed over time in meadow compared to heath. The warming treatment increased air and soil temperature by 0.5 A degrees C and slightly increased aboveground greenness, but did not affect root growth or prolong the below- and aboveground growing season in either of the vegetation types. These results imply that vegetation types differ in root dynamics and suggest that other factors than temperature control autumnal root growth in these ecosystems. Further investigations of root phenology will help to identify those drivers, in which including responses of functionally contrasting vegetation types will help to estimate how climate change affects belowground processes and their roles in ecosystem function.

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