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Leaf metabolic traits reveal hidden dimensions of plant form and function


Abstract

The metabolome is the biochemical basis of plant form and function, but we know little about its macroecological variation across the plant kingdom. Here, we used the plant functional trait concept to interpret leaf metabolome variation among 457 tropical and 339 temperate plant species. Distilling metabolite chemistry into five metabolic functional traits reveals that plants vary on two major axes of leaf metabolic specialization—a leaf chemical defense spectrum and an expression of leaf longevity. Axes are similar for tropical and temperate species, with many trait combinations being viable. However, metabolic traits vary orthogonally to life-history strategies described by widely used functional traits. The metabolome thus expands the functional trait concept by providing additional axes of metabolic specialization for examining plant form and function.

Abstract

The metabolome is the biochemical basis of plant form and function, but we know little about its macroecological variation across the plant kingdom. Here, we used the plant functional trait concept to interpret leaf metabolome variation among 457 tropical and 339 temperate plant species. Distilling metabolite chemistry into five metabolic functional traits reveals that plants vary on two major axes of leaf metabolic specialization—a leaf chemical defense spectrum and an expression of leaf longevity. Axes are similar for tropical and temperate species, with many trait combinations being viable. However, metabolic traits vary orthogonally to life-history strategies described by widely used functional traits. The metabolome thus expands the functional trait concept by providing additional axes of metabolic specialization for examining plant form and function.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:1 September 2023
Deposited On:14 Sep 2023 14:43
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:38
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adi4029
PubMed ID:37647404
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)