Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Plasticity of functional traits of forb species in response to biodiversity


Lipowsky, Annett; Roscher, Christiane; Schumacher, Jens; Michalski, Stefan G; Gubsch, Marlén; Buchmann, Nina; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Schmid, Bernhard (2015). Plasticity of functional traits of forb species in response to biodiversity. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 17(1):66-77.

Abstract

In spite of increasing recognition that intraspecific variation may play an important role for niche differentiation, which is regarded as a promoter of species coexistence, the extent and structure of functional trait variation in response to plant neighbor diversity is poorly understood. We studied the plasticity of functional traits in vegetative and reproductive shoots of 27 non-legume forb species with different growth forms (reptant, rosulate, semirosulate) in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) of varying species richness and functional group composition (with and without legumes). Traits related to whole-shoot structure differed strongly among forb species with different growth forms, while leaf traits associated with light acquisition (specific leaf area, foliar δ13C values) and traits associated with nitrogen nutrition (shoot biomass:N ratios, leaf nitrogen concentrations, foliar δ15N values) were highly plastic within forb species. Plant height generally increased with increasing species richness. Plasticities to increased species richness in leaf traits (leaf length, SLA, foliar δ13C) varied among growth forms and depended on developmental stage. The presence of legumes generally increased plastic responses in light-acquisition traits in the same direction as increasing species richness. Greater tissue nitrogen concentrations and unchanged foliar δ15N values of forb species in the presence of legumes suggested that the fertilizing effect of nitrogen-fixing legumes was due to the supply of unconsumed mineral nitrogen. Stronger correlations between trait means and trait plasticities in size-related traits suggested a functional convergence in response to light competition. A more variable spectrum in the plasticities of traits not associated with plant size indicated a greater functional separation among species. Our results suggest that both interspecific differences and intraspecific trait plasticity affect niche partitioning among forb species and are important for their coexistence in multi-species assemblages.

Abstract

In spite of increasing recognition that intraspecific variation may play an important role for niche differentiation, which is regarded as a promoter of species coexistence, the extent and structure of functional trait variation in response to plant neighbor diversity is poorly understood. We studied the plasticity of functional traits in vegetative and reproductive shoots of 27 non-legume forb species with different growth forms (reptant, rosulate, semirosulate) in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) of varying species richness and functional group composition (with and without legumes). Traits related to whole-shoot structure differed strongly among forb species with different growth forms, while leaf traits associated with light acquisition (specific leaf area, foliar δ13C values) and traits associated with nitrogen nutrition (shoot biomass:N ratios, leaf nitrogen concentrations, foliar δ15N values) were highly plastic within forb species. Plant height generally increased with increasing species richness. Plasticities to increased species richness in leaf traits (leaf length, SLA, foliar δ13C) varied among growth forms and depended on developmental stage. The presence of legumes generally increased plastic responses in light-acquisition traits in the same direction as increasing species richness. Greater tissue nitrogen concentrations and unchanged foliar δ15N values of forb species in the presence of legumes suggested that the fertilizing effect of nitrogen-fixing legumes was due to the supply of unconsumed mineral nitrogen. Stronger correlations between trait means and trait plasticities in size-related traits suggested a functional convergence in response to light competition. A more variable spectrum in the plasticities of traits not associated with plant size indicated a greater functional separation among species. Our results suggest that both interspecific differences and intraspecific trait plasticity affect niche partitioning among forb species and are important for their coexistence in multi-species assemblages.

Statistics

Citations

11 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Legumes; Niche differentiation; Phylogeny; Plant functional traits; Species richness; Trait variation
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:09 Apr 2015 09:00
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 12:46
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1433-8319
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2014.11.003

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher