New insight into the relationship between stomatal traits and ecosystem function.

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Standardized major axis (SMA) regressions between species-level stomatal density (SDL) and stomatal length (SLL) across different growth types (A) and leaf habits (B). “Slope”, difference in SMA slopes; “Elevation”, difference in SMA elevations (i.e. y-axis intercept); *significantly different (P < 0.05); NS, not significantly different (P > 0.05). Sample size and results of regression analyses are presented in Supplementary Table S3.

Latitudinal variation of leaf stomatal traits from species to community level in forests: linkage with ecosystem productivity

by Wang R., Yu G., He N., Wang Q., Zhao N.,  Xu Z., Ge J. (2015)

Ruili Wang, Guirui Yu, Nianpeng He, Qiufeng Wang, Ning Zhao, Zhiwei XuJianping Ge

in Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 14454 (2015) – doi:10.1038/srep14454 –

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep14454

Abstract

To explore the latitudinal variation of stomatal traits from species to community level and their linkage with net primary productivity (NPP), we investigated leaf stomatal density (SDL) and stomatal length (SLL) across 760 species from nine forest ecosystems in eastern China, and calculated the community-level SD (SDC) and SL (SLC) through species-specific leaf area index (LAI).

Our results showed that latitudinal variation in species-level SDL and SLL was minimal, but community-level SDC and SLC decreased clearly with increasing latitude. The relationship between SD and SL was negative across species and different plant functional types (PFTs), but positive at the community level.

Furthermore, community-level SDC correlated positively with forest NPP, and explained 51% of the variation in NPP.

These findings indicate that the trade-off by regulating SDL and SLL may be an important strategy for plant individuals to adapt to environmental changes, and temperature acts as the main factor influencing community-level stomatal traits through alteration of species composition.

Importantly, our findings provide new insight into the relationship between plant traits and ecosystem function.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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