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Biotic interactions overrule plant responses to climate, depending on the species' biogeography.

Welk A, Welk E, Bruelheide H - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Competition generally caused strong reductions of aboveground biomass and growth.In conclusion we suggest variation in relative importance of climate and biotic interactions on broader scales, mediated via species-specific sensitivities and factor-specific response patterns.Our results have important implications for species distribution models, as they emphasize the large-scale impact of biotic interactions on plant distribution patterns and the necessity to take plant range types into account.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany.

ABSTRACT
This study presents an experimental approach to assess the relative importance of climatic and biotic factors as determinants of species' geographical distributions. We asked to what extent responses of grassland plant species to biotic interactions vary with climate, and to what degree this variation depends on the species' biogeography. Using a gradient from oceanic to continental climate represented by nine common garden transplant sites in Germany, we experimentally tested whether congeneric grassland species of different geographic distribution (oceanic vs. continental plant range type) responded differently to combinations of climate, competition and mollusc herbivory. We found the relative importance of biotic interactions and climate to vary between the different components of plant performance. While survival and plant height increased with precipitation, temperature had no effect on plant performance. Additionally, species with continental plant range type increased their growth in more benign climatic conditions, while those with oceanic range type were largely unable to take a similar advantage of better climatic conditions. Competition generally caused strong reductions of aboveground biomass and growth. In contrast, herbivory had minor effects on survival and growth. Against expectation, these negative effects of competition and herbivory were not mitigated under more stressful continental climate conditions. In conclusion we suggest variation in relative importance of climate and biotic interactions on broader scales, mediated via species-specific sensitivities and factor-specific response patterns. Our results have important implications for species distribution models, as they emphasize the large-scale impact of biotic interactions on plant distribution patterns and the necessity to take plant range types into account.

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Significant effects of the climate gradient (climate covariate) on plants with different plant range types for A) incidence of flowering and B) plant height, and in interaction with competition for C) incidence of flowering and D) aboveground biomass.Climate covariates are PCA 2 scores which are negatively correlated with precipitation sums of the vegetation period during the experiment (Table 1). Graphs are plotted with LSmeans estimates derived from the GLMM's. For statistical details see Table 2.
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pone-0111023-g004: Significant effects of the climate gradient (climate covariate) on plants with different plant range types for A) incidence of flowering and B) plant height, and in interaction with competition for C) incidence of flowering and D) aboveground biomass.Climate covariates are PCA 2 scores which are negatively correlated with precipitation sums of the vegetation period during the experiment (Table 1). Graphs are plotted with LSmeans estimates derived from the GLMM's. For statistical details see Table 2.

Mentions: The responses to the climatic variables of plants of contrasting range types differed for incidence of flowering (PCA2, p = 0.018, Fig. 4A) and plant height (PCA2, p = 0.010, Fig. 4B, Table 2). Incidence of flowering of continental plants decreased with decreasing precipitation (i.e. increasing PCA2 scores) while that of oceanic plants increased (Fig. 4A). Similarly, plant height of continental plants decreased with decreasing precipitation) but remained constant in oceanic plant species (Fig. 4B). At the moist end of the gradient, plants of the continental range type flowered more frequently and were taller than oceanic ones, while on the dry end the pattern was reversed (Fig. 4A,B).


Biotic interactions overrule plant responses to climate, depending on the species' biogeography.

Welk A, Welk E, Bruelheide H - PLoS ONE (2014)

Significant effects of the climate gradient (climate covariate) on plants with different plant range types for A) incidence of flowering and B) plant height, and in interaction with competition for C) incidence of flowering and D) aboveground biomass.Climate covariates are PCA 2 scores which are negatively correlated with precipitation sums of the vegetation period during the experiment (Table 1). Graphs are plotted with LSmeans estimates derived from the GLMM's. For statistical details see Table 2.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4214694&req=5

pone-0111023-g004: Significant effects of the climate gradient (climate covariate) on plants with different plant range types for A) incidence of flowering and B) plant height, and in interaction with competition for C) incidence of flowering and D) aboveground biomass.Climate covariates are PCA 2 scores which are negatively correlated with precipitation sums of the vegetation period during the experiment (Table 1). Graphs are plotted with LSmeans estimates derived from the GLMM's. For statistical details see Table 2.
Mentions: The responses to the climatic variables of plants of contrasting range types differed for incidence of flowering (PCA2, p = 0.018, Fig. 4A) and plant height (PCA2, p = 0.010, Fig. 4B, Table 2). Incidence of flowering of continental plants decreased with decreasing precipitation (i.e. increasing PCA2 scores) while that of oceanic plants increased (Fig. 4A). Similarly, plant height of continental plants decreased with decreasing precipitation) but remained constant in oceanic plant species (Fig. 4B). At the moist end of the gradient, plants of the continental range type flowered more frequently and were taller than oceanic ones, while on the dry end the pattern was reversed (Fig. 4A,B).

Bottom Line: Competition generally caused strong reductions of aboveground biomass and growth.In conclusion we suggest variation in relative importance of climate and biotic interactions on broader scales, mediated via species-specific sensitivities and factor-specific response patterns.Our results have important implications for species distribution models, as they emphasize the large-scale impact of biotic interactions on plant distribution patterns and the necessity to take plant range types into account.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical Garden, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany.

ABSTRACT
This study presents an experimental approach to assess the relative importance of climatic and biotic factors as determinants of species' geographical distributions. We asked to what extent responses of grassland plant species to biotic interactions vary with climate, and to what degree this variation depends on the species' biogeography. Using a gradient from oceanic to continental climate represented by nine common garden transplant sites in Germany, we experimentally tested whether congeneric grassland species of different geographic distribution (oceanic vs. continental plant range type) responded differently to combinations of climate, competition and mollusc herbivory. We found the relative importance of biotic interactions and climate to vary between the different components of plant performance. While survival and plant height increased with precipitation, temperature had no effect on plant performance. Additionally, species with continental plant range type increased their growth in more benign climatic conditions, while those with oceanic range type were largely unable to take a similar advantage of better climatic conditions. Competition generally caused strong reductions of aboveground biomass and growth. In contrast, herbivory had minor effects on survival and growth. Against expectation, these negative effects of competition and herbivory were not mitigated under more stressful continental climate conditions. In conclusion we suggest variation in relative importance of climate and biotic interactions on broader scales, mediated via species-specific sensitivities and factor-specific response patterns. Our results have important implications for species distribution models, as they emphasize the large-scale impact of biotic interactions on plant distribution patterns and the necessity to take plant range types into account.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus