Traditional plant functional groups explain variation in economic but not size‐related traits across the tundra biome

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  • Haydn J D Thomas, Edinburgh University
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  • Isla H. Myers-Smith, Edinburgh University
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  • A.D. Bjorkman, University of Edinburgh, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F)
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  • Sarah C. Elmendorf, University of Colorado, Danmark
  • Daan Blok, Lunds Universitet
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  • J. Hans C. Cornelissen, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
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  • Bruce C. Forbes, University of Lapland
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  • Robert D. Hollister, Grand Valley State University
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  • Signe Normand
  • Janet S Prevéy, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
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  • Christian Rixen, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
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  • Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, University of Zürich
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  • Martin Wilmking, University of Greifswald, Tyskland
  • S. Wipf, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
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  • William K. Cornwell, University of New South Wales, Danmark
  • Jens Kattge, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
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  • Scott J. Goetz, Northern Arizona University
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  • Kevin C. Guay, Bigelow Lab Ocean Sci, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Danmark
  • Juha M. Alatalo, Qatar University
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  • Alba Anadon-Rosell, Greifswald University, University of Barcelona
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  • Sandra Angers-Blondin, Edinburgh University
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  • L.T. Berner, Northern Arizona University
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  • Robert G. Bjork, Gothenburg Global Biodivers Ctr, University of Gothenburg
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  • Agata Buchwal, Adam Mickiewicz University, University of Alaska Anchorage, Danmark
  • Allan Buras, Wageningen University and Research, Danmark
  • Michele Carbognani, University of Parma
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  • Katherine S. Christie, The Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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  • Laura Siegwart Collier, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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  • E.J. Cooper, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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  • A. Eskelinen, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, University of Bergen
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  • E. R. Frei, University of British Columbia
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  • O. Grau, Global Ecology Unit, CREAF‐CSIC‐UAB‐UB
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  • P. Grogan, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
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  • Martin Hallinger, Swedish University of of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
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  • M. M P D Heijmans, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Ukendt
  • L. Hermanutz, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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  • J. M. G. Hudson, British Columbia Public Service
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  • K. Hülber, University of Vienna, Østrig
  • Maitane Iturrate-Garcia, University of Zürich
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  • C.M. Iversen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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  • F. Jaroszynska, University of Bergen
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  • J.F. Johnstone, University of Saskatchewan
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  • Elina Kaarlejarvi, VUB, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Dept Biol, Umeå University, University of Helsinki
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  • Aino Kulonen, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, University of Bergen
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  • Laurent J Lamarque, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
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  • E. Lévesque, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Danmark
  • C. J. Little, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG), Dübendorf, University of Zurich
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  • A. Michelsen, Københavns Universitet, Danmark
  • Ann Milbau, Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels
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  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
  • Sigrid Schøler Nielsen
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  • Josep M Ninot, University of Barcelona
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  • Steven F. Oberbauer, Florida International University
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  • Johan Olofsson, Umeå University
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  • Vladimir G. Onipchenko, Lomonosov Moscow State University
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  • Alessandro Petraglia, University of Parma
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  • Sabine B. Rumpf, University of Vienna
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  • Philipp Semenchuk, University of Vienna, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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  • Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Leiden University
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  • Marko J Spasojevic, University of California, Riverside
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  • James David Mervyn Speed, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
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  • Ken D. Tape, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Mariska Te Beest, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Umeå University
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  • Marcello Tomaselli, University of Parma
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  • Andrew Trant, University of Waterloo, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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  • Urs Treier
  • Susanna Venn, Deakin University, Australian National University
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  • Tage Vowles, University of Gothenburg
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  • Stef Weijers, University of Bonn
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  • Tara Zamin, Queen's University
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  • O.K. Atkin, Australian National University
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  • Michael Bahn, Innsbruck University
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  • Benjamin Blonder, Oxford University, Oxford, UK., Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, USA
  • Giandiego Campetella, University of Camerino
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  • Bruno E L Cerabolini, Univ Insubria, University of Insubria, DiSTA
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  • F. Stuart Chapin, University of Alaska
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  • Matteo Dainese, University of Würzburg
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  • Franciska T de Vries, The University of Manchester
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  • Sandra Díaz, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
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  • Walton Green, Harvard University
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  • R. Jackson, Stanford University, Danmark
  • Peter Manning, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F)
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  • Ülo Niinemets, Estonian University of Life Science, Danmark
  • Wim A. Ozinga, Wageningen University and Research Centre
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  • Josep Peñuelas, Global Ecology Unit, CREAF‐CSIC‐UAB‐UB, CREAF, Spanien
  • Peter B. Reich, Western Sydney University, University of Minnesota
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  • Brandon Schamp, Algoma University
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  • Serge Sheremetev, Komarov Bot Inst, Komarov Botanical Institute
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  • Peter M. Van Bodegom, Leiden University, Danmark

Aim: Plant functional groups are widely used in community ecology and earth system modelling to describe trait variation within and across plant communities. However, this approach rests on the assumption that functional groups explain a large proportion of trait variation among species. We test whether four commonly used plant functional groups represent variation in six ecologically important plant traits. Location: Tundra biome. Time period: Data collected between 1964 and 2016. Major taxa studied: 295 tundra vascular plant species. Methods: We compiled a database of six plant traits (plant height, leaf area, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content, leaf nitrogen, seed mass) for tundra species. We examined the variation in species-level trait expression explained by four traditional functional groups (evergreen shrubs, deciduous shrubs, graminoids, forbs), and whether variation explained was dependent upon the traits included in analysis. We further compared the explanatory power and species composition of functional groups to alternative classifications generated using post hoc clustering of species-level traits. Results: Traditional functional groups explained significant differences in trait expression, particularly amongst traits associated with resource economics, which were consistent across sites and at the biome scale. However, functional groups explained 19% of overall trait variation and poorly represented differences in traits associated with plant size. Post hoc classification of species did not correspond well with traditional functional groups, and explained twice as much variation in species-level trait expression. Main conclusions: Traditional functional groups only coarsely represent variation in well-measured traits within tundra plant communities, and better explain resource economic traits than size-related traits. We recommend caution when using functional group approaches to predict tundra vegetation change, or ecosystem functions relating to plant size, such as albedo or carbon storage. We argue that alternative classifications or direct use of specific plant traits could provide new insights for ecological prediction and modelling.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Vol/bind28
Nummer2
Sider (fra-til)78-95
Antal sider18
ISSN1466-8238
DOI
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2019

    Forskningsområder

  • Cluster analysis, community composition, ecosystem function, Plant functional groups, Plant functional types, plant traits, tundra biome, vegetation change

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