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Sensitivity of leaf size and shape to climate: global patterns and paleoclimatic applications


Peppe, DJ and Royer, DL and Cariglino, B and Oliver, SY and Newman, S and Leight, E and Enikolopov, G and Fernandez-Burgos, M and Herrera, F and Adams, JM and Correa, E and Currano, ED and Erickson, JM and Hinojosa, LF and Hoganson, JW and Iglesias, A and Jaramillo, CA and Johnson, KR and Jordan, GJ and Kraft, NJB and Lovelock, EC and Lusk, CH and Niinemets, U and Penuelas, J and Rapson, G and Wing, SL and Wright, IJ, Sensitivity of leaf size and shape to climate: global patterns and paleoclimatic applications, New Phytologist, 190, (3) pp. 724-739. ISSN 0028-646X (2011) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03615.x


Paleobotanists have long used models based on leaf size and shape to reconstruct paleoclimate. However, most models incorporate a single variable or use traits that are not physiologically or functionally linked to climate, limiting their predictive power. Further, they often underestimate paleotemperature relative to other proxies. Here we quantify leaf-climate correlations from 92 globally distributed, climatically diverse sites, and explore potential confounding factors. Multiple linear regression models for mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP) are developed and applied to nine well-studied fossil floras. We find that leaves in cold climates typically have larger, more numerous teeth, and are more highly dissected. Leaf habit (deciduous vs evergreen), local water availability, and phylogenetic history all affect these relationships. Leaves in wet climates are larger and have fewer, smaller teeth. Our multivariate MAT and MAP models offer moderate improvements in precision over univariate approaches (+- 4.0 vs 4.8 celsius degree for MAT) and strong improvements in accuracy. For example, our provisional MAT estimates for most North American fossil floras are considerably warmer and in better agreement with independent paleoclimate evidence. Our study demonstrates that the inclusion of additional leaf traits that are functionally linked to climate improves paleoclimate reconstructions. This work also illustrates the need for better understanding of the impact of phylogeny and leaf habit on leaf-climate relationships.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant biology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Jordan, GJ (Professor Greg Jordan)
ID Code:72294
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:349
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2011-08-24
Last Modified:2022-08-25
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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