Effects of experimental warming on plant reproductive phenology in Xizang alpine meadow

ZHU Jun-Tao1

(1.Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 100101)

【Abstract】 Aims Climate warming strongly influences the reproductive phenology of plants in alpine and arctic ecosystems. Here we focus on the phenological shifts caused by warming in a typical alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Our objective was to explore the phenological responses of alpine plant species to experimental warming. Methods Passive warming was achieved using open-top chambers (OTCs). The treatments included control (C), and four levels of warming (T1, T2, T3, T4). We selected Kobresia pygmaea, Potentilla saundersiana, Potentilla cuneata, Stipa purpurea, Festuca coelestis and Youngia simulatrix as the focal species. Plant phenology was scored every 3–5 days in the growing season. The reproductive phenology phases of each species were estimated through fitting the phenological scores to the Richards function. Important findings Under soil water stress caused by warming, most plants in the alpine meadow advanced or delayed their reproductive events. As a result, warming significantly delayed the phenological development of K. pygmaea. Warming significantly advanced the reproductive phenology of P. saundersiana, S. purpurea and F. coelestis, but not that of P. cuneata and Y. simulatrix. In addition, warming significantly shortened the average flowering duration of alpine plant species. The potentially warmer and drier growing seasons under climate change may shift the reproductive phenology of the alpine systems in similar pattern.

【Keywords】 alpine meadow; experimental warming; phenological shifts; reproductive phenology; Qinghai-Xizang Plateau;

【DOI】

【Funds】 National Special Science Research Program of China (2013CB956302 and 2010CB950603) National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571195) “West Light” Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

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This Article

ISSN:1005-264X

CN:11-3397/Q

Vol 40, No. 10, Pages 1028-1036

October 2016

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • References