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Title

Latitudinal gradients as natural laboratories to infer species' responses to temperature

Publication Year

2013

Author(s)
  • De Frenne, Pieter
  • Graae, Bente J.
  • Rodriguez-Sanchez, Francisco
  • Kolb, Annette
  • Chabrerie, Olivier
  • Decocq, Guillaume
  • De Kort, Hanne
  • De Schrijver, An
  • Diekmann, Martin
  • Eriksson, Ove
  • Gruwez, Robert
  • Hermy, Martin
  • Lenoir, Jonathan
  • Plue, Jan
  • Coomes, David A.
  • Verheyen, Kris
Source
JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY Volume: 101 Issue: 3 Pages: 784-795 Published: 2013
ISSN
0022-0477
Abstract

Macroclimatic variation along latitudinal gradients provides an excellent natural laboratory to investigate the role of temperature and the potential impacts of climate warming on terrestrial organisms. Here, we review the use of latitudinal gradients for ecological climate change research, in comparison with altitudinal gradients and experimental warming, and illustrate their use and caveats with a meta-analysis of latitudinal intraspecific variation in important life-history traits of vascular plants. We first provide an overview of latitudinal patterns in temperature and other abiotic and biotic environmental variables in terrestrial ecosystems. We then assess the latitudinal intraspecific variation present in five key life-history traits [plant height, specific leaf area (SLA), foliar nitrogen:phosphorus (N:P) stoichiometry, seed mass and root:shoot (R:S) ratio] in natural populations or common garden experiments across a total of 98 plant species. Intraspecific leaf N:P ratio and seed mass significantly decreased with latitude in natural populations. Conversely, the plant height decreased and SLA increased significantly with latitude of population origin in common garden experiments. However, less than a third of the investigated latitudinal transect studies also formally disentangled the effects of temperature from other environmental drivers which potentially hampers the translation from latitudinal effects into a temperature signal. Synthesis. Latitudinal gradients provide a methodological set-up to overcome the drawbacks of other observational and experimental warming methods. Our synthesis indicates that many life-history traits of plants vary with latitude but the translation of latitudinal clines into responses to temperature is a crucial step. Therefore, especially adaptive differentiation of populations and confounding environmental factors other than temperature need to be considered. More generally, integrated approaches of observational studies along temperature gradients, experimental methods and common garden experiments increasingly emerge as the way forward to further our understanding of species and community responses to climate warming.

Author Keyword(s)
  • altitudinal gradients
  • climate change
  • common garden experiments
  • experimental warming
  • functional life-history traits
  • global warming
  • latitude
  • plantclimate interactions
  • transplant experiments
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • RAPID CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • ECOLOGY STRATEGY SCHEME
  • HERB ANEMONE-NEMOROSA
  • GLOBAL PATTERNS
  • FOREST HERBS
  • TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS
  • SEED-SIZE
  • LEAF TEMPERATURES
  • LOCAL ADAPTATION
  • PLANT-RESISTANCE
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
  • Plant & Animal Science
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Plant Sciences
  • Ecology
Adress(es)

[De Frenne, Pieter; De Schrijver, An; Gruwez, Robert; Verheyen, Kris] Univ Ghent, Forest & Nat Lab, BE-9090 Gontrode Melle, Belgium; [De Frenne, Pieter; Rodriguez-Sanchez, Francisco; Coomes, David A.] Univ Cambridge, Dept Plant Sci, Forest Ecol & Conservat Grp, Cambridge CB2 3EA, England; [Graae, Bente J.] Norwegian Univ Sci & Technol, Dept Biol, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway; [Kolb, Annette; Diekmann, Martin] Univ Bremen, FB2, Inst Ecol, DE-28359 Bremen, Germany; [Chabrerie, Olivier; Decocq, Guillaume; Lenoir, Jonathan] Univ Picardie Jules Verne, EDYSAN, FRE CNRS 3498, FR-80037 Amiens, France; [De Kort, Hanne] Katholieke Univ Leuven, Div Plant Conservat & Populat Biol, BE-3001 Louvain, Belgium; [Eriksson, Ove] Stockholm Univ, Dept Ecol Environm & Plant Sci, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden; [Hermy, Martin] Katholieke Univ Leuven, Div Forest Nat & Landscape, BE-3001 Louvain, Belgium; [Plue, Jan] Stockholm Univ, Dept Phys Geog & Quaternary Geol, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden

Reprint Adress

De Frenne, P (reprint author), Univ Ghent, Forest & Nat Lab, Geraardsbergsesteenweg 267, BE-9090 Gontrode Melle, Belgium.

Country(ies)
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Ecologie et dynamique des systèmes anthropisés (EDYSAN), FRE3498
Accession Number
WOS:000318186800024
uid:/LJG9JRPS
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