Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The tundra is warming more rapidly than any other biome on Earth, and the potential ramifications are far-reaching because of global feedback effects between vegetation and climate. A better understanding of how environmental factors shape plant structure and function is crucial for predicting the consequences of environmental change for ecosystem functioning. Here we explore the biome-wide relationships between temperature, moisture and seven key plant functional traits both across space and over three decades of warming at 117 tundra locations. Spatial temperature–trait relationships were generally strong but soil moisture had a marked influence on the strength and direction of these relationships, highlighting the potentially important influence of changes in water availability on future trait shifts in tundra plant communities. Community height increased with warming across all sites over the past three decades, but other traits lagged far behind predicted rates of change. Our findings highlight the challenge of using space-for-time substitution to predict the functional consequences of future warming and suggest that functions that are tied closely to plant height will experience the most rapid change. They also reveal the strength with which environmental factors shape biotic communities at the coldest extremes of the planet and will help to improve projections of functional changes in tundra ecosystems with climate warming.

Details

Authors
  • Anne D. Bjorkman
  • Isla H. Myers-Smith
  • Sarah C. Elmendorf
  • Signe Normand
  • Nadja Rüger
  • Pieter S.A. Beck
  • Anne Blach-Overgaard
  • Daan Blok
  • J. Hans C. Cornelissen
  • Bruce C. Forbes
  • Damien Georges
  • Scott J. Goetz
  • Kevin C. Guay
  • Gregory H.R. Henry
  • Janneke HilleRisLambers
  • Robert D. Hollister
  • Dirk N. Karger
  • Jens Kattge
  • Peter Manning
  • Janet S. Prevéy
  • Christian Rixen
  • Gabriela Schaepman-Strub
  • Haydn J.D. Thomas
  • Mark Vellend
  • Martin Wilmking
  • Sonja Wipf
  • Michele Carbognani
  • Luise Hermanutz
  • Esther Lévesque
  • Ulf Molau
  • Alessandro Petraglia
  • Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia
  • Marko J. Spasojevic
  • Marcello Tomaselli
  • Tage Vowles
  • Juha M. Alatalo
  • Heather D. Alexander
  • Alba Anadon-Rosell
  • Sandra Angers-Blondin
  • Mariska te Beest
  • Logan Berner
  • Robert G. Björk
  • Agata Buchwal
  • Allan Buras
  • Katherine Christie
  • Elisabeth J. Cooper
  • Stefan Dullinger
  • Bo Elberling
  • Anu Eskelinen
  • Esther R. Frei
  • Oriol Grau
  • Paul Grogan
  • Martin Hallinger
  • Karen A. Harper
  • Monique M.P.D. Heijmans
  • James Hudson
  • Karl Hülber
  • Maitane Iturrate-Garcia
  • Colleen M. Iversen
  • Francesca Jaroszynska
  • Jill F. Johnstone
  • Rasmus Halfdan Jørgensen
  • Elina Kaarlejärvi
  • Rebecca Klady
  • Sara Kuleza
  • Aino Kulonen
  • Laurent J. Lamarque
  • Trevor Lantz
  • Chelsea J. Little
  • James D.M. Speed
  • Anders Michelsen
  • Ann Milbau
  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
  • Sigrid Schøler Nielsen
  • Josep M. Ninot
  • Steven F. Oberbauer
  • Johan Olofsson
  • Vladimir G. Onipchenko
  • Sabine B. Rumpf
  • Philipp Semenchuk
  • Rohan Shetti
  • Laura Siegwart Collier
  • Lorna E. Street
  • Katharine N. Suding
  • Ken D. Tape
  • Andrew Trant
  • Urs A. Treier
  • Jean Pierre Tremblay
  • Maxime Tremblay
  • Susanna Venn
  • Stef Weijers
  • Tara Zamin
  • Noémie Boulanger-Lapointe
  • William A. Gould
  • David S. Hik
  • Annika Hofgaard
  • Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir
  • Janet Jorgenson
  • Julia Klein
  • Borgthor Magnusson
  • Craig Tweedie
  • Philip A. Wookey
  • Michael Bahn
  • Benjamin Blonder
  • Peter M. van Bodegom
  • Benjamin Bond-Lamberty
  • Giandiego Campetella
  • Bruno E.L. Cerabolini
  • F. Stuart Chapin
  • William K. Cornwell
  • Joseph Craine
  • Matteo Dainese
  • Franciska T. de Vries
  • Brian J. Enquist
  • Walton Green
  • Ruben Milla
  • Ülo Niinemets
  • Yusuke Onoda
  • Jenny C. Ordoñez
  • Wim A. Ozinga
  • Josep Penuelas
  • Hendrik Poorter
  • Peter Poschlod
  • Peter B. Reich
  • Brody Sandel
  • Brandon Schamp
  • Serge Sheremetev
  • Evan Weiher
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Aarhus University
  • Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre
  • University of Colorado
  • National Ecological Observatory Network
  • German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • University of Lapland
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Washington
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
  • Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
  • WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
  • University of Zurich
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • University of Greifswald
  • University of Parma
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Leiden University
  • University of California, Riverside
  • Qatar University
  • Mississippi State University
  • University of Barcelona
  • Umeå University
  • Utrecht University
  • Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre
  • Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Wageningen University
  • The Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
  • University of Vienna
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • University of Oulu
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry (CERAF)
  • Queen's University
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå
  • Saint Mary's University
  • British Columbia Public Service
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • University of Victoria
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Research Institute for Nature and Forest
  • Florida International University
  • Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Waterloo
  • Laval University
  • Deakin University
  • University of Bonn
  • USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • University of Iceland
  • University Centre in Svalbard
  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Colorado State University
  • Icelandic Institute of Natural History
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Innsbruck
  • University of Oxford
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • University of Camerino
  • University of Insubria
  • University of New South Wales
  • Jonah Ventures
  • EURAC Research
  • University of Manchester
  • National University of Cordoba, Argentina
  • University of Arizona
  • Santa Fe Institute
  • Harvard University
  • Rey Juan Carlos University
  • Estonian University of Life Sciences - EMÜ
  • Kyoto University
  • World Agroforestry Centre, Peru
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • CSIC Spanish National Research Council
  • Jülich Research Centre
  • Macquarie University, Sydney
  • University of Regensburg
  • University of Minnesota system
  • Western Sydney University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Algoma University
  • Komarov Botanical Institute, Sankt Petersburg
  • University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
  • Climate Research
  • Physical Geography
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume562
Issue number7725
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 4
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes