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Intraspecific phenotypic variability of plant functional traits in contrasting mountain grasslands habitats

Title data

Wellstein, Camilla ; Chelli, Stefano ; Campetella, Giandiego ; Bartha, Sándor ; Galiè, Marco ; Spada, Francesco ; Canullo, Roberto:
Intraspecific phenotypic variability of plant functional traits in contrasting mountain grasslands habitats.
In: Biodiversity and Conservation. Vol. 22 (2013) Issue 10 . - pp. 2353-2374.
ISSN 1572-9710
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-013-0484-6

Abstract in another language

Empirical studies that link plants intraspecific variation to environmental conditions are almost lacking, despite their relevance in understanding mechanisms of plant adaptation, in predicting the outcome of environmental change and in conservation. Here, we investigate intraspecific trait variation of four grassland species along with abiotic environmental variation at high spatial resolution (n = 30 samples per species trait and environmental factor per site) in two contrasting grassland habitats in Central Apennines (Italy). We test for phenotypic adaptation between habitats, intraspecific trait-environment relationships within habitats, and the extent of trait and environmental variation. We considered whole plant, clonal, leaf, and seed traits. Differences between habitats were tested using ANOVA and ANCOVA. Trait-environment relationships were assessed using multiple regression models and hierarchical variance partitioning. The extent of variation was calculated using the coefficient of variation. Significant intraspecific differences in trait attributes between the contrasting habitats indicate phenotypic adaptation to in situ environmental conditions. Within habitats, light, soil temperature, and the availability of nitrate, ammonium, magnesium and potassium were the most important factors driving intraspecific trait-environment relationships. Leaf traits and height growth show lower variability than environment being probably more regulated by plants than clonal traits which show much higher variability. We show the adaptive significance of key plant traits leading to intraspecific adaptation of strategies providing insights for conservation of extant grassland communities. We argue that protecting habitats with considerable medium- and small-scale environmental heterogeneity is important to maintain large intra- specific variability within local populations that finally can buffer against uncertainty of future climate and land use scenarios.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER115844
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
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: 29 Apr 2015 15:41
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2015 15:41
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/11636