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Deciduous Tundra Shrubs Shift Toward More Acquisitive Light Absorption Strategy Under Climate Change Treatments


Heim, Ramona Julia; Iturrate‐Garcia, Maitane; Reji Chacko, Merin; Karsanaev, S; Maximov, T C; Heijmans, Monique M P D; Schaepman‐Strub, Gabriela (2023). Deciduous Tundra Shrubs Shift Toward More Acquisitive Light Absorption Strategy Under Climate Change Treatments. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 128(9):e2023JG007657.

Abstract

The effects of climate change on plants are particularly pronounced in the Arctic region. Warming relaxes the temperature and nutrients boundaries that limit tundra plant growth. Increased resource availability under future climate conditions may induce a shift from a conservative economic strategy to an acquisitive one. Following the leaf economics spectrum that hypothesizes a strategy gradient between survival, plant size and costs for the photosynthetic leaf area, light absorption of tundra plants may increase. We investigated climate change effects on light absorptance and the relationship between light absorptance (fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation, FAPAR) and structural and nutritional leaf traits, performing a soil warming and surface soil fertilization experiment on two deciduous tundra shrub species. Our results show that fertilization and warming combined increase light absorptance in Arctic shrubs and that FAPAR is correlated with leaf nutrients but not with structural leaf traits. This indicates an economic strategy shift of shrubs from conservative to acquisitive induced by warming and fertilization combined. We found species‐specific differences: FAPAR was influenced by warming alone in Betula nana but not in Salix pulchra, and FAPAR was correlated with leaf phosphorus in B. nana but not in S. pulchra. We attribute this to water limitation of B. nana that generally grows in drier areas within the study site compared to S. pulchra. We conclude that FAPAR is a measure that opens up more possibilities to estimate nutritional leaf traits and nutrient cycles, plant economic strategies, and ecological feedbacks of the tundra ecosystem on broader scales.

Abstract

The effects of climate change on plants are particularly pronounced in the Arctic region. Warming relaxes the temperature and nutrients boundaries that limit tundra plant growth. Increased resource availability under future climate conditions may induce a shift from a conservative economic strategy to an acquisitive one. Following the leaf economics spectrum that hypothesizes a strategy gradient between survival, plant size and costs for the photosynthetic leaf area, light absorption of tundra plants may increase. We investigated climate change effects on light absorptance and the relationship between light absorptance (fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation, FAPAR) and structural and nutritional leaf traits, performing a soil warming and surface soil fertilization experiment on two deciduous tundra shrub species. Our results show that fertilization and warming combined increase light absorptance in Arctic shrubs and that FAPAR is correlated with leaf nutrients but not with structural leaf traits. This indicates an economic strategy shift of shrubs from conservative to acquisitive induced by warming and fertilization combined. We found species‐specific differences: FAPAR was influenced by warming alone in Betula nana but not in Salix pulchra, and FAPAR was correlated with leaf phosphorus in B. nana but not in S. pulchra. We attribute this to water limitation of B. nana that generally grows in drier areas within the study site compared to S. pulchra. We conclude that FAPAR is a measure that opens up more possibilities to estimate nutritional leaf traits and nutrient cycles, plant economic strategies, and ecological feedbacks of the tundra ecosystem on broader scales.

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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
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Forestry
Life Sciences > Aquatic Science
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Life Sciences > Soil Science
Physical Sciences > Atmospheric Science
Physical Sciences > Paleontology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Paleontology, Atmospheric Science, Soil Science, Water Science and Technology, Ecology, Aquatic Science, Forestry
Language:English
Date:24 August 2023
Deposited On:26 Sep 2023 12:21
Last Modified:26 Jun 2024 03:43
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:2169-8953
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1029/2023jg007657
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)