Influence of water and terpenes on flammability in some dominant Mediterranean species

Alessio G.A., Peñuelas J., Llusià J., Ogaya R., Estiarte M., De Lillis M. (2008) Influence of water and terpenes on flammability in some dominant Mediterranean species. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 17: 274-286.
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Doi: 10.1071/WF07038

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In the Mediterranean basin, fires are a major concern for forest and shrubland ecosystems. We studied flammability, its seasonality and its relationship with leaf moisture and volatile terpene content and emission in the dominant species of a Mediterranean shrubland and forest in Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula). We measured temperatures and time elapsed between the three flammability phases: smoke, pyrolysis and flame, for four seasons. We sampled twice in spring because of an occasional drought period during this season. Flammability had a significant relationship with leaf hydration, in the shrubland and in the forest. Few and only weak correlations were found between terpene content and flammability. In the future, arid conditions projected by climatic and ecophysiological models will increase fire risk through decreased hydration and subsequent increased flammability of the species. © IAWF 2008.

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Drought-induced changes in C and N stoichiometry in a Quercus ilex Mediterranean forest .

Sardans J, Peñuelas J, Ogaya R (2008) Drought-induced changes in C and N stoichiometry in a Quercus ilex Mediterranean forest . Forest Science 54: 513-522

El canvi climàtic altera i alterarà la vida als ecosistemes terrestres Catalans.

Peñuelas J, Filella I, Estiarte M, Ogaya R, Llusià J, Sardans J, Jump A, Garbulsky M, Carrillo B, Stefanescu C, Lloret F, Terradas J (2008) El canvi climàtic altera i alterarà la vida als ecosistemes terrestres Catalans. L'Atzavara 16: 13-28.

Climate change and phenology, adaptation, migration and extinction in plant species.In Climate Change and Systematics,

Peñuelas J, Filella I, Estiarte M, Ogaya R, LLusià J, Sardans J, Jump A, Garbulsky M, Coll M, Diaz de Quijano M, Seco R, Salvador Blanch J, Owen S, Curiel J, Carnicer J, Boada M, Stefanescu C, Lloret F, Terradas J (2008) Climate change and phenology, adaptation, migration and extinction in plant species.In Climate Change and Systematics, Trinity College Dublin pp. 16.

From Phosphorous and VOCs to Biodiversity: some studies on the effects of global change inspired by Margalef’s legacy. (2008).. In: F. Valladares, A. Camacho, A. Elosegi, C. Gracia, M. Estrada, J.C. Senar, J.M. Gili (eds.), Unity in Diversity. Reflection

Peñuelas J, Jump A, Sardans J, Filella I, Estiarte M, Ogaya R, Llusià J, Owen S, Lloret F (2008) From Phosphorous and VOCs to Biodiversity: some studies on the effects of global change inspired by Margalef’s legacy. (2008).. In: F. Valladares, A. Camacho, A. Elosegi, C. Gracia, M. Estrada, J.C. Senar, J.M. Gili (eds.), Unity in Diversity. Reflection s on Ecology after the legacy of Ramon Margalef, pp. 83-94. Fundación BBVA, Bilbao.

Nutrient stoichiometric relations and biogeochemical niche in coexisting plant species: effect of simulated climate change.

Peñuelas J, Sardans J, Ogaya R, Estiarte M (2008) Nutrient stoichiometric relations and biogeochemical niche in coexisting plant species: effect of simulated climate change. Polish Journal of Ecology 56: 613-622.

Changes in leaf δ13C and δ15N for three Mediterranean tree species in relation to soil water availability

Ogaya R., Peñuelas J. (2008) Changes in leaf δ13C and δ15N for three Mediterranean tree species in relation to soil water availability. Acta Oecologica. 34: 331-338.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.actao.2008.06.005

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A rain exclusion experiment simulating drought conditions expected in Mediterranean areas for the following decades (15% decrease in soil moisture) was conducted in a Mediterranean holm oak forest to study the response of leaf δ13C, δ15N, and N concentrations to the predicted climatic changes for the coming decades. Plant material was sampled in 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2005 in eight plots: four of them were control plots and the other four plots received the rain exclusion treatment. Although there was a negative relationship between δ13C and soil moisture, for each species and year, the rain exclusion treatment did not have any significant effect on δ13C, and therefore on the intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) of the three dominant species: Phillyrea latifolia, Arbutus unedo, and Quercus ilex. On the other hand, rain exclusion clearly increased the δ15N values in the three species studied, probably indicating higher N losses at the soil level leading to a 15N enrichment of the available N. It suggested that rain exclusion exerted a greater effect on the nitrogen biogeochemical cycle than on the carbon assimilation process. δ15N values were inversely correlated with summer soil moisture in Q. ilex and A. unedo, but no relationship was observed in P. latifolia. This latter species showed the lowest iWUE values, but it was the only species with no decrease in annual basal increment in response to the rain exclusion treatment, and it also had the highest resistance to the hot and dry conditions projected for the Mediterranean basin in the coming decades. The different strategies to resist rain exclusion conditions of these species could induce changes in their competitive ability and future distribution. The losses of N from the ecosystem may further limit plant growth and ecosystem functioning. © 2008 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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Twentieth century changes of tree-ring δ13C at the southern range-edge of Fagus sylvatica: Increasing water-use efficiency does not avoid the growth decline induced by warming at low altitudes

Peñuelas J., Hunt J.M., Ogaya R., Jump A.S. (2008) Twentieth century changes of tree-ring δ13C at the southern range-edge of Fagus sylvatica: Increasing water-use efficiency does not avoid the growth decline induced by warming at low altitudes. Global Change Biology. 14: 1076-1088.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01563.x

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We aimed to gain knowledge on the changes in intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) in response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate change over the last century. We investigated the variation in the iWUE of mature Fagus sylvatica trees located in the higher, central and lower altitudinal forest limits (HFL, CFA and LFL) of one of the southernmost sites of beech distribution in Europe, the Montseny Mountains in Catalonia (northeast Spain), during the last century by analysing the δ13C of their tree rings. Pre- and post-maturation phases of the trees presented different trends in δ13C, Δ13C, Ci (internal CO2 concentration), iWUE and basal area increment (BAI). Moreover, these variables showed different trends and absolute values in the LFL than in the other altitudinal sites, CFA and HFL. Our results show the existence of an age effect on δ13C in the CFA and HFL (values increased by ca. 1.25‰ coinciding with the BAI suppression and release phases, previous to maturation). These age-related changes were not found in the LFL, whose beech trees arrived to maturation earlier and experienced drier conditions during the suppression phase. In the last 26 years of comparable mature trees, the increase of iWUE deduced from the Δ13C analyses was ca. 10% in LFL, ca. 6% in CFA and not significant in HFL. These results show that climate change towards more arid conditions accounted for these higher Δ13C-values and increases in the LFL more than the continuous increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This increased iWUE in the LFL did not avoid a decline in growth in these lowest altitudes of this beech southern range-edge as a result of warming. Furthermore, since there was no apparent change in iWUE and growth in the beech forests growing in the more standard-adequate environments of higher altitudes in the last 26 years, the rate of sequestration of C into temperate ecosystems may not increase with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations as predicted by most models based on short-term small scale experiments. © 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Precipitation-dependent flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora in Mediterranean shrubland under experimental drought and warming, and its inter-annual variability

Prieto P., Peñuelas J., Ogaya R., Estiarte M. (2008) Precipitation-dependent flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora in Mediterranean shrubland under experimental drought and warming, and its inter-annual variability. Annals of Botany. 102: 275-285.
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Doi: 10.1093/aob/mcn090

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• Background and Aims: Relationships between autumn flowering, precipitation and temperature of plant species of Mediterranean coastal shrublands have been described, but not analysed experimentally. These relationships were analysed for two species of co-occurring, dominant, autumn-flowering shrubs, Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora, over 4 years and in experimentally generated drought and warming conditions. The aim was to improve predictions about the responses and adaptations of flowering of Mediterranean vegetation to climate change. • Methods: Beginning of anthesis and date of maximum flowering intensity ('peak date') were monitored over 4 years (2001-2004) on a garrigue land type in the noth-east of the Iberian Peninsula. Two experimental treatments were applied, increased temperature (+0.73°C) and reduced soil moisture (-17%) relative to untreated plots. • Key Results: Flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora differed greatly between years depending on the precipitation of the previous months and the date of the last substantial rainfall (>10 mm). Globularia alypum flowered once or twice (unimodal or bimodal) as the result of differences in the distribution and magnitude of precipitation in late-spring and summer (when floral buds develop). The drought treatment delayed and decreased flowering of Globularia alypum in 2001 and delayed flowering in 2002. Warming extended the period between the beginning of flowering and the end of the second peak for autumn flowering in 2001 and also increased peak intensity in 2002. Flowering of Erica multiflora was unaffected by either treatment. • Conclusions: Autumn flowering of Globularia alypum and Erica multiflora is more dependent on water availability than on temperature. Considerable inter-annual plasticity in the beginning of anthesis and peak date and on unimodal or bimodal flowering constitutes a 'safe strategy' for both species in relation to varying precipitation and temperature. However, severe changes in precipitation in spring and summer may severely affect flowering of Globularia alypum but not Erica multiflora, thus affecting development/structure of the ecosystem if such conditions persist. © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved.

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Drought's impact on Ca, Fe, Mg, Mo and S concentration and accumulation patterns in the plants and soil of a Mediterranean evergreen Quercus ilex forest

Sardans J., Peñuelas J., Ogaya R. (2008) Drought's impact on Ca, Fe, Mg, Mo and S concentration and accumulation patterns in the plants and soil of a Mediterranean evergreen Quercus ilex forest. Biogeochemistry. 87: 49-69.
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Doi: 10.1007/s10533-007-9167-2

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We conducted a 6-year field manipulation drought experiment in an evergreen Quercus ilex forest where we simulated the drought predicted by GCM and ecophysiological models for the coming decades (an average of 15% soil moisture reduction). We thereby tested the hypothesis that enhanced drought will change Ca, Fe, Mg, Mo and S availability, concentrations and accumulation patterns in Mediterranean ecosystems. The strongest effects of drought occurred in the soil. Drought increased the total soil concentrations of S, the soil extract concentrations of Fe, Mg and S, the Mg saturation in the soil exchangeable complex and tended to increase the percentage base saturation of the soil exchangeable complex. These increased soil concentrations were related to a decrease of plant uptake capacity and not to an increase of soil enzyme activity, which in fact decreased under drier conditions. Drought increased leaf Mg concentrations in the three dominant species although only significantly in Quercus ilex and Arbutus unedo (20 and 14%, respectively). In contrast, drought tended to decrease Ca in Phillyrea latifolia (18%) and Ca and Fe concentrations in the wood of all three species. Drought increased Ca and Fe concentrations in the roots of Quercus ilex (26 and 127%). There was a slight general trend to decrease total biomass accumulation of nutrients that depend on water flux such as Mg, Fe and S. This effect was related to a decrease of soil moisture that reduced soil flow, and to a decrease in photosynthetic capacity, sap flow, transpiration and growth, and therefore plant uptake capacity under drought observed in Quercus ilex and Arbutus unedo. On the contrary, drought increased Mo accumulation in aboveground biomass in Phillyrea latifolia and reduced Mo accumulation in Arbutus unedo by reducing growth and wood Mo concentrations (51%). Phillyrea latifolia showed a great capacity to adapt to drier conditions, with no decrease in growth, an increase of Mo uptake capacity and a decrease in leaf Ca concentration, which was related to a decrease in transpiration under drought. The results indicate asymmetrical changes in species capacity to accumulate these elements, which are likely to produce changes in inter-specific competitive relations among dominant plant species and in their nutritional quality as food sources. The results also indicate that drought tended to decrease nutrient content in aboveground biomass, mainly through the decrease in growth and transpiration of the most sensitive species and caused an increase in the availability of these nutrients in soil. Thus, drought decreased the ecosystem's capacity to retain Mg, Fe and S, facilitating their loss in torrential rainfalls. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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