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Influence of warming on soil water potential controls seedling mortality in perennial but not annual species in a temperate grassland


Hovenden, MJ and Newton, PCD and Wills, KE and Janes, JK and Williams, AL and Vander Schoor, JK and Nolan, M, Influence of warming on soil water potential controls seedling mortality in perennial but not annual species in a temperate grassland, New Phytologist, 180, (1) pp. 143-152. ISSN 0028-646X (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02563.x


• In a water-limited system, the following hypotheses are proposed: warming will increase seedling mortality; elevated atmospheric CO2 will reduce seedling mortality by reducing transpiration, thereby increasing soil water availability; and longevity (i.e. whether a species is annual or perennial) will affect the response of a species to global changes. • Here, these three hypotheses are tested by assessing the impact of elevated CO2 (550 µmol mol−1) and warming (+2°C) on seedling emergence, survivorship and establishment in an Australian temperate grassland from autumn 2004 to autumn 2007. • Warming impacts on seedling survivorship were dependent upon species longevity. Warming reduced seedling survivorship of perennials through its effects on soil water potential but the seedling survivorship of annuals was reduced to a greater extent than could be accounted for by treatment effects on soil water potential. Elevated CO2 did not significantly affect seedling survivorship in annuals or perennials. • These results show that warming will alter recruitment of perennial species by changing soil water potential but will reduce recruitment of annual species independent of any effects on soil moisture. The results also show that exposure to elevated CO2 does not make seedlings more resistant to dry soils.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change and global warming • elevated CO2 • emergence • establishment • free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) • grassland • seedling recruitment • survivorship
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)
UTAS Author:Hovenden, MJ (Professor Mark Hovenden)
UTAS Author:Wills, KE (Dr Karen Wills)
UTAS Author:Janes, JK (Ms Jasmine Janes)
UTAS Author:Williams, AL (Ms Amanda Williams)
UTAS Author:Vander Schoor, JK (Mrs Jacqueline Vander Schoor)
UTAS Author:Nolan, M (Ms Michaela Nolan)
ID Code:54945
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2009-03-03
Last Modified:2009-05-16

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