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Drought and heat wave impacts on grassland carbon cycling across hierarchical levels.

Authors
  • Li, Linfeng1, 2
  • Zheng, Zhenzhen1
  • Biederman, Joel A3
  • Qian, Ruyan1
  • Ran, Qinwei1
  • Zhang, Biao1
  • Xu, Cong1
  • Wang, Fang1, 2
  • Zhou, Shutong1
  • Che, Rongxiao4
  • Dong, Junfu1
  • Xu, Zhihong2
  • Cui, Xiaoyong1, 5
  • Hao, Yanbin1, 5
  • Wang, Yanfen1, 5
  • 1 College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 2 Environmental Futures Research Institute, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Southwest Watershed Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
  • 4 Institude of International Rivers and Eco-security, Yunnan University, Kunming, Yunnan, China. , (China)
  • 5 CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China. , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Plant Cell & Environment
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2021
Volume
44
Issue
7
Pages
2402–2413
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/pce.13767
PMID: 32275067
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Droughts and heat waves are increasing in magnitude and frequency, altering the carbon cycle. However, understanding of the underlying response mechanisms remains poor, especially for the combination (hot drought). We conducted a 4-year field experiment to examine both individual and interactive effects of drought and heat wave on carbon cycling of a semiarid grassland across individual, functional group, community and ecosystem levels. Drought did not change below-ground biomass (BGB) or above-ground biomass (AGB) due to compensation effects between grass and non-grass functional groups. However, consistently decreased BGB under heat waves limited such compensation effects, resulting in reduced AGB. Ecosystem CO2 fluxes were suppressed by droughts, attributed to stomatal closure-induced reductions in leaf photosynthesis and decreased AGB of grasses, while CO2 fluxes were little affected by heat waves. Overall the hot drought produced the lowest leaf photosynthesis, AGB and ecosystem CO2 fluxes although the interactions between heat wave and drought were usually not significant. Our results highlight that the functional group compensatory effects that maintain community-level AGB rely on feedback of root system responses, and that plant adjustments at the individual level, together with shifts in composition at the functional group level, co-regulate ecosystem carbon sink strength under climate extremes. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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