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Separating drought effects from roof artifacts on ecosystem processes in a grassland drought experiment


Vogel, Anja; Fester, Thomas; Eisenhauer, Nico; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Schmid, Bernhard; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Weigelt, Alexandra (2013). Separating drought effects from roof artifacts on ecosystem processes in a grassland drought experiment. PLoS ONE, 8(8):e70997.

Abstract

1: Given the predictions of increased drought probabilities under various climate change scenarios, there have been numerous experimental field studies simulating drought using transparent roofs in different ecosystems and regions. Such roofs may, however, have unknown side effects, called artifacts, on the measured variables potentially confounding the experimental results. A roofed control allows the quantification of potential artifacts, which is lacking in most experiments.
2: We conducted a drought experiment in experimental grasslands to study artifacts of transparent roofs and the resulting effects of artifacts on ecosystems relative to drought on three response variables (aboveground biomass, litter decomposition and plant metabolite profiles). We established three drought treatments, using (1) transparent roofs to exclude rainfall, (2) an unroofed control treatment receiving natural rainfall and (3) a roofed control, nested in the drought treatment but with rain water reapplied according to ambient conditions.
3: Roofs had a slight impact on air (+0.14uC during night) and soil temperatures (20.45uC on warm days, +0.25uC on cold nights), while photosynthetically active radiation was decreased significantly (216%). Aboveground plant community biomass was reduced in the drought treatment (241%), but there was no significant difference between the roofed and unroofed control, i.e., there were no measurable roof artifact effects.
4: Compared to the unroofed control, litter decomposition was decreased significantly both in the drought treatment (226%) and in the roofed control treatment (218%), suggesting artifact effects of the transparent roofs. Moreover, aboveground metabolite profiles in the model plant species Medicago x varia were different from the unroofed control in both the drought and roofed control treatments, and roof artifact effects were of comparable magnitude as drought effects.
5: Our results stress the need for roofed control treatments when using transparent roofs for studying drought effects, because roofs can cause significant side effects.

Abstract

1: Given the predictions of increased drought probabilities under various climate change scenarios, there have been numerous experimental field studies simulating drought using transparent roofs in different ecosystems and regions. Such roofs may, however, have unknown side effects, called artifacts, on the measured variables potentially confounding the experimental results. A roofed control allows the quantification of potential artifacts, which is lacking in most experiments.
2: We conducted a drought experiment in experimental grasslands to study artifacts of transparent roofs and the resulting effects of artifacts on ecosystems relative to drought on three response variables (aboveground biomass, litter decomposition and plant metabolite profiles). We established three drought treatments, using (1) transparent roofs to exclude rainfall, (2) an unroofed control treatment receiving natural rainfall and (3) a roofed control, nested in the drought treatment but with rain water reapplied according to ambient conditions.
3: Roofs had a slight impact on air (+0.14uC during night) and soil temperatures (20.45uC on warm days, +0.25uC on cold nights), while photosynthetically active radiation was decreased significantly (216%). Aboveground plant community biomass was reduced in the drought treatment (241%), but there was no significant difference between the roofed and unroofed control, i.e., there were no measurable roof artifact effects.
4: Compared to the unroofed control, litter decomposition was decreased significantly both in the drought treatment (226%) and in the roofed control treatment (218%), suggesting artifact effects of the transparent roofs. Moreover, aboveground metabolite profiles in the model plant species Medicago x varia were different from the unroofed control in both the drought and roofed control treatments, and roof artifact effects were of comparable magnitude as drought effects.
5: Our results stress the need for roofed control treatments when using transparent roofs for studying drought effects, because roofs can cause significant side effects.

Citations

6 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:16 Oct 2013 11:23
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:02
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Funders:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, University of Jena, University of Zurich, University of Göttingen, University of Freiburg
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0070997
PubMed ID:23936480

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