Elevated temperature and CO2 cause differential growth and drought survival responses in Eucalypt species from contrasting habitats

Apgaua, Deborah M.G., Tng, David Y.P., Forbes, Samantha J., Ishida, Yoko F., Oliveira Vogado, Nara O., Cernusak, Lucas A., and Laurance, Susan G.W. (2019) Elevated temperature and CO2 cause differential growth and drought survival responses in Eucalypt species from contrasting habitats. Tree Physiology, 39 (11). pp. 1806-1820.

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Climate change scenarios predict increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations ([CO2]), temperatures and droughts in tropical regions. Individually, the effects of these climate factors on plants are well established, whereas experiments on the interactive effects of a combination of factors are rare. Moreover, how these environmental factors will affect tree species along a wet to dry gradient (e.g., along tropical forest–savanna transitions) remains to be investigated. We hypothesized that under the simulated environmental conditions, plant growth, physiological performance and survivorship would vary in a manner consistent with the species’ positions of origin along this gradient. In a glasshouse experiment, we raised seedlings of three Eucalyptus species, each occurring naturally in a wet forest, savanna and forest–savanna ecotone, respectively. We evaluated the effect of drought, elevated temperature (4 °C above ambient glasshouse temperature of 22 °C) and elevated temperature in combination with elevated [CO2] (400 ppm [CO2] above ambient of 400 ppm), on seedling growth, survivorship and physiological responses (photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and water-use efficiency). Elevated temperature under ambient [CO2] had little effect on growth, biomass and plant performance of well-watered seedlings, but hastened mortality in drought-affected seedlings, affecting the forest and ecotone more strongly than the savanna species. In contrast, elevated [CO2] in combination with elevated temperatures delayed the appearance of drought stress symptoms and enhanced survivorship in drought-affected seedlings, with the savanna species surviving the longest, followed by the ecotone and forest species. Elevated [CO2] in combination with elevated temperatures also enhanced growth and biomass and photosynthesis in well-watered seedlings of all species, but modified shoot:root biomass partitioning and stomatal conductance differentially across species. Our study highlights the need for a better understand of the interactive effects of elevated [CO2], temperature and drought on plants and the potential to upscale these insights for understanding biome changes.

Item ID: 61063
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-4469
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Schlumberger Faculty for the Future (SFF)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship DP130101319, SFF Fellowship
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 02:10
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 60%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3007 Forestry sciences > 300703 Forest ecosystems @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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