Plant responses to elevated temperatures: A field study on phenological sensitivity and fitness responses to simulated climate warming

David A. Springate, Paula X. Kover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Significant changes in plant phenology have been observed in response to increases in mean global temperatures. There are concerns that accelerated phenologies can negatively impact plant populations. However, the fitness consequence of changes in phenology in response to elevated temperature is not well understood, particularly under field conditions. We address this issue by exposing a set of recombinant inbred lines of Arabidopsis thaliana to a simulated global warming treatment in the field. We find that plants exposed to elevated temperatures flower earlier, as predicted by photothermal models. However, contrary to life-history trade-off expectations, they also flower at a larger vegetative size, suggesting that warming probably causes acceleration in vegetative development. Although warming increases mean fitness (fruit production) by ~ 25%, there is a significant genotype-by-environment interaction. Changes in fitness rank indicate that imminent climate change can cause populations to be maladapted in their new environment, if adaptive evolution is limited. Thus, changes in the genetic composition of populations are likely, depending on the species’ generation time and the speed of temperature change. Interestingly, genotypes that show stronger phenological responses have higher fitness under elevated temperatures, suggesting that phenological sensitivity might be a good indicator of success under elevated temperature at the genotypic level as well as at the species level.
LanguageEnglish
Pages456-465
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume20
Issue number2
Early online date19 Nov 2013
DOIs
StatusPublished - Feb 2014

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fitness
warming
climate
temperature
phenology
Temperature
flower
genotype
fruit production
generation time
Global warming
Fruits
Climate change
trade-off
field study
global warming
life history
climate change
Chemical analysis

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Plant responses to elevated temperatures : A field study on phenological sensitivity and fitness responses to simulated climate warming. / Springate, David A.; Kover, Paula X.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 20, No. 2, 02.2014, p. 456-465.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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