Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

Plastic and genetic responses of a common sedge to warming have contrasting effects on carbon cycle processes

Authors
  • Walker, Tom W. N.1, 2, 3
  • Weckwerth, Wolfram4, 4
  • Bragazza, Luca5, 6, 7
  • Fragner, Lena4, 4
  • Forde, Brian G.3
  • Ostle, Nicholas J.2, 3
  • Signarbieux, Constant5, 6
  • Sun, Xiaoliang4, 4
  • Ward, Susan E.3
  • Bardgett, Richard D.1
  • 1 The University of Manchester, UK , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Lancaster University, UK , (United Kingdom)
  • 4 University of Vienna, Austria , (Austria)
  • 5 Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Switzerland , (Switzerland)
  • 6 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland , (Switzerland)
  • 7 University of Ferrara, Italy , (Italy)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ecology Letters
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Nov 22, 2018
Volume
22
Issue
1
Pages
159–169
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13178
PMID: 30556313
PMCID: PMC6334510
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

Climate warming affects plant physiology through genetic adaptation and phenotypic plasticity, but little is known about how these mechanisms influence ecosystem processes. We used three elevation gradients and a reciprocal transplant experiment to show that temperature causes genetic change in the sedge Eriophorum vaginatum . We demonstrate that plants originating from warmer climate produce fewer secondary compounds, grow faster and accelerate carbon dioxide ( CO 2) release to the atmosphere. However, warmer climate also caused plasticity in E. vaginatum , inhibiting nitrogen metabolism, photosynthesis and growth and slowing CO 2 release into the atmosphere. Genetic differentiation and plasticity in E. vaginatum thus had opposing effects on CO 2 fluxes, suggesting that warming over many generations may buffer, or reverse, the short‐term influence of this species over carbon cycle processes. Our findings demonstrate the capacity for plant evolution to impact ecosystem processes, and reveal a further mechanism through which plants will shape ecosystem responses to climate change.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times