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Recurrent mild drought events increase resistance toward extreme drought stress

Title data

Backhaus, Sabrina ; Kreyling, Jürgen ; Grant, Kerstin ; Beierkuhnlein, Carl ; Walter, Julia ; Jentsch, Anke:
Recurrent mild drought events increase resistance toward extreme drought stress.
In: Ecosystems. Vol. 17 (2014) Issue 6 . - pp. 1068-1081.
ISSN 1435-0629
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-014-9781-5

Abstract in another language

The frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events such as drought are expected to increase in the future. At present, plant responses to recurrent extreme events have been sparsely examined and the role of stress history on subsequent stress response has been widely neglected. In a longterm field experiment, we investigated the response of grassland and heath communities to a very severe drought event, which exceeded the duration of projected drought scenarios. During the preceding six years, the plant communities experienced scenarios of varying water supply, including annually recurring drought, heavy rain, regular watering, and natural drought periods. Single species and plant communities that were regularly watered in the preceding years revealed highest tissue die-back under a very severe drought when compared to plants that experienced mild or severe drought stress before. Contrary to expectations, the root to shoot ratio did not increase due to previous recurrent drought occurrences. Furthermore, pre-exposure effects on Vaccinium myrtillus and Plantago lanceolata tissue die-back and reproductive biomass (P. lanceolata) were altered by community composition.Recurrent mild drought stress seems to improve drought resistance of plant communities and species. Potential reasons could be epigenetic changes or soil biotic legacies. Morphological legacies such as altered root to shoot ratio did not play a role in our study. Imprinting events which trigger this ecological stress memory do not have to be extreme themselves. Thresholds, longevity of effects, and the role of biodiversity shown by the importance of community composition require further attention.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER122661
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography > Chair Biogeography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Disturbance Ecology
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 11:55
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2015 11:55
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/11319