Born with a silver spoon? How light condition experienced by parent plants influences the response of offspring to light

Wei Xue, Lin Huang, Fei-Hai Yu, T. Martijn Bezemer This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. It is a common phenomenon in humans, animals, and plants that environmental conditions experienced by a parent can influence their offspring. In plants, this effect can act through both parental effects (i.e. characteristic changes of the parent due to … Continue reading Born with a silver spoon? How light condition experienced by parent plants influences the response of offspring to light

How an alpine plant species responds to temperature stress depends on the type of trait and life stage

Pieter A. Arnold, Shuo Wang, Alexandra A. Catling, Loeske E. B. Kruuk, Adrienne B. Nicotra This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Understanding how plants can respond to temperature stress is increasingly important as the climate changes, particularly in alpine ecosystems where rates of changes are occurring faster. The ability of a plant to change the expression of its traits … Continue reading How an alpine plant species responds to temperature stress depends on the type of trait and life stage

Plant specialisations may limit climate-induced vegetation range changes on a sub-Antarctic island

Michael D. Cramer, David W. Hedding, Michelle Greve, Guy F. Midgley, Brad S. Ripley This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Increasing temperatures due to climate change are expected to push terrestrial species into cooler zones upslope or poleward, so that they continue to occupy their optimal temperature ranges. While there is evidence for this … Continue reading Plant specialisations may limit climate-induced vegetation range changes on a sub-Antarctic island

Quantifying within-species trait variation in space and time reveals limits to trait-mediated drought response

Kelly L. Kerr, Leander D.L. Anderegg, Nicole Zenes, William R.L. Anderegg This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Climate change is currently a major stressor for many forest ecosystems around the globe, yet some tree species can deal with climate change through acclimation to changing environmental conditions. However, we still do not fully understand the … Continue reading Quantifying within-species trait variation in space and time reveals limits to trait-mediated drought response

Drought leads to more similar plant traits between- but not within-species

Slendy Rodríguez-Alarcón, Riin Tamme, Carlos P. Carmona This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Plants are more intelligent than we imagine. They can modify their morphology, for example, their leaves, roots, and height to survive in environments with limited resources. In our greenhouse experiment, we measured these morphological features of plants (called functional traits) under drought … Continue reading Drought leads to more similar plant traits between- but not within-species

Soil nutrient availability and tree height control the physiology of the world’s tallest tropical trees

David Bartholomew, Lindsay Banin, Paulo Bittencourt, Mohd Aminur Faiz Suis, Lina Mercado, Reuben Nilus, David Burslem, Lucy Rowland This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. The tropical forests of Borneo in South-East Asia possess exceptionally high levels of biodiversity, act as important carbon stores and are home to the world’s tallest tropical trees. However, these characteristics … Continue reading Soil nutrient availability and tree height control the physiology of the world’s tallest tropical trees

Grasses adjust their root characteristics in response to drought to reduce negative impacts on aboveground productivity

Manjunatha H. Chandregowda, Mark G. Tjoelker, Elise Pendall, Haiyang Zhang, Amber C. Churchill, Sally A. Power This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Grasslands and rangelands cover nearly one-third of the Earth’s terrestrial surface area and play a major role in supporting global livestock production. However, climate models predict an increase in drought frequency and severity … Continue reading Grasses adjust their root characteristics in response to drought to reduce negative impacts on aboveground productivity

How does wood density relate to xylem anatomy traits across environmental gradients?

Alex Fajardo, Frida I. Piper, Ana I. García-Cervigón This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Although it is well-known that plant functional traits, or plant’s attributes, change across environmental gradients, much less is known about how the coordination of traits changes across gradients within species. In the last decades, major research efforts have been made to … Continue reading How does wood density relate to xylem anatomy traits across environmental gradients?

Riparian trees change their sensitivity to dry air over the growing season

Jessica S. Guo, Susan E. Bush, Kevin R. Hultine This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Rising air temperatures also increase the atmospheric demand for water, which is a key driver of plant water uptake. In response to drier air, vascular plants can close their stomata (small pores on the surface of leaves) at the risk … Continue reading Riparian trees change their sensitivity to dry air over the growing season

Agricultural pasture in Ireland – image credit Dr Jon Yearsley

The ability of plants in agricultural fields to maintain growth or recover following dips in their growth depends on climate dynamics they have experienced historically

Hannah J. White, Willson Gaul, Lupe León-Sánchez, Dinara Sadykova, Mark C. Emmerson Paul Caplat and Jon M. Yearsley Read the full research here Plant growth, i.e. plant productivity, is vital for food security. Without grass production in agriculture, for example, there would not be enough food for livestock. This production, however, is dependent on a number of different factors and can vary over time. In … Continue reading The ability of plants in agricultural fields to maintain growth or recover following dips in their growth depends on climate dynamics they have experienced historically