Robust leaf trait relationships across species under global environmental changes

Cui, Erqian; Weng, Ensheng; Yan, Enrong; Xia, Jianyang

Recent studies show coordinated relationships between plant leaf traits and their capacity to predict ecosystem functions. However, how leaf traits will change within species and whether interspecific trait relationships will shift under future environmental changes both remain unclear. Here, we examine the bivariate correlations between leaf economic traits of 515 species in 210 experiments which mimic climate warming, drought, elevated CO2, and nitrogen deposition. We find divergent directions of changes in trait-pairs between species, and the directions mostly do not follow the interspecific trait relationships. However, the slopes in the logarithmic transformed interspecific trait relationships hold stable under environmental changes, while only their elevations vary. The elevation changes of trait relationship are mainly driven by asymmetrically interspecific responses contrary to the direction of the leaf economic spectrum. These findings suggest robust interspecific trait relationships under global changes, and call for linking within-species responses to interspecific coordination of plant traits.


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Also Published In

Nature Communications

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Climate Systems Research
Published Here
June 16, 2020