Contrasting effects of fog frequency on the radial growth of two tree species in a Mediterranean-temperate ecotone

Barbeta A., Camarero J.J., Sangüesa-Barreda G., Muffler L., Peñuelas J. (2019) Contrasting effects of fog frequency on the radial growth of two tree species in a Mediterranean-temperate ecotone. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 264: 297-308.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.10.020

Resum:

The performance and persistence of rear-edge tree populations are relevant issues for conserving biodiversity because these stands harbor high intraspecific biodiversity and play a key role during periods of climate change. The occurrence of these populations is associated with the influence of heterogeneous topography, creating suitable refugia with regionally rare environmental conditions. Climate is changing at a global-scale, but little is known about the long-term impact on local climatic singularities and the associated taxa. We analyzed tree-ring growth chronologies of the two species (Fagus sylvatica and Quercus ilex) forming the evergreen-deciduous forest ecotone, constitutive of the rear-edge of F. sylvatica distribution. The study area is a coastal range with frequent fog immersion, which has been hypothesized to favor the persistence of F. sylvatica in Mediterranean peninsulas. We analyzed the long-term effect of fog on tree growth along a topographical gradient and the sensitivity of growth to rainfall and temperature. The annual number of foggy days has decreased by 62% over the last four decades, concomitant with increasing temperatures. Fog frequency was a relevant factor determining tree growth; fog during summer had positive effects on F. sylvatica growth mainly through a temperature buffering effect. The positive effect of fog on the growth of Q. ilex, however, was likely caused by a collinearity with rainfall. Q. ilex growth was less sensitive to climate than F. sylvatica, but growth of both species was enhanced by a positive early-summer water balance. Our results indicate that a decrease in fog frequency and an increase in temperature may generally benefit Q. ilex in this forest ecotone. Although future changes in rainfall and temperature matter most for the fate of rear-edge tree populations, local climatic singularities such as fog should also be considered. Those can have complementary effects that can swing the balance in ecotones and rear-edge tree populations such as those studied here. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

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Long-term experimental drought combined with natural extremes accelerate vegetation shift in a Mediterranean holm oak forest

Liu D., Ogaya R., Barbeta A., Yang X., Peñuelas J. (2018) Long-term experimental drought combined with natural extremes accelerate vegetation shift in a Mediterranean holm oak forest. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 151: 1-11.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2018.02.008

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Increasing drought combined with natural extremes are expected to accelerate forest die-off and shifts in vegetation in the Mediterranean Basin. However, fewer studies have explored these climate-driven changes in forest ecosystems. A long-term (17-year) experimental drought (−30% precipitation) was established in a Mediterranean holm oak forest with high (H) and low (L) canopies to determine the changes in stem mortality, recruitment and composition shifts. Experimental drought increased annual stem mortality rate at the community level for both H- and L-canopies. Natural drought amplified the effects of experimental drought on stem mortality at the community level and of Q. ilex for H- and L-canopies. The timescales of natural drought, however, varied substantially with canopy types and species, with shorter timescales in L- than H-canopy and for Q. ilex than P. latifolia. Furthermore, experimental drought combined with natural extremes amplified the increases in stem mortality and decreases in growth for L-canopy. Contrasting responses between Q. ilex and P. latifolia for the relative in abundance and growth were observed in L-canopy and drought treatment reinforced the vegetation shift favoring P. latifolia. These findings suggest continuous drought regimes accelerated a vegetation shift, implying potential consequences for the functions and services for water-limited forest ecosystems. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

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Relative contribution of groundwater to plant transpiration estimated with stable isotopes

Barbeta A., Peñuelas J. (2017) Relative contribution of groundwater to plant transpiration estimated with stable isotopes. Scientific Reports. 7: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09643-x

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Water stored underground in the saturated and subsurface zones below the soil are important sources of water for plants in water-limited ecosystems. The presence of deep-rooted plants worldwide, however, suggests that the use of groundwater is not restricted to arid and seasonally dry ecosystems. We compiled the available data (71 species) on the relative contribution of groundwater to plant water estimated using stable isotopes and mixing models, which provided information about relative groundwater use, and analyzed their variation across different climates, seasons, plant types, edaphic conditions, and landscape positions. Plant use of groundwater was more likely at sites with a pronounced dry season, and represented on average 49 per cent of transpired water in dry seasons and 28 per cent in wet seasons. The relative contribution of groundwater to plant-water uptake was higher on rocky substrates (saprolite, fractured bedrock), which had reduced groundwater uptake when this source was deep belowground. In addition, we found that the connectivity between groundwater pools and plant water may be quantitatively larger and more widespread than reported by recent global estimations based on isotopic averaged values. Earth System Models should account for the feedbacks between transpiration and groundwater recharge. © 2017 The Author(s).

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Increasing carbon discrimination rates and depth of water uptake favor the growth of Mediterranean evergreen trees in the ecotone with temperate deciduous forests

Barbeta, A., Peñuelas, J. (2017) Increasing carbon discrimination rates and depth of water uptake favor the growth of Mediterranean evergreen trees in the ecotone with temperate deciduous forests. Global Change Biology. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1111/gcb.13770

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Impacts of global change on Mediterranean forests and their services

Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Filella, I., Estiarte, M., Llusià, J., Ogaya, R., Carnicer, J., Bartrons, M., Rivas-Ubach, A., Grau, O., Peguero, G., Margalef, O., Pla-Rabés, S., Stefanescu, C., Asensio, D., Preece, C., Liu, L., Verger, A., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino-Serrano, M., Vives-Ingla, M., Stocker, B.D., Balzarolo, M., Guerrieri, R., Peaucelle, M., Marañón-Jiménez, S., Bórnez-Mejías, K., Mu, Z., Descals, A., Castellanos, A., Terradas, J. (2017) Impacts of global change on Mediterranean forests and their services. Forests. 8: 0-0.
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Doi: 10.3390/f8120463

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Light inhibition of foliar respiration in response to soil water availability and seasonal changes in temperature in Mediterranean holm oak (Quercus ilex) forest

Turnbull, M.H., Ogaya, R., Barbeta, A., Peñuelas, J., Zaragoza-Castells, J., Atkin, O.K., Valladares, F., Gimeno, T.E., Pías, B., Griffin, K.L. (2017) Light inhibition of foliar respiration in response to soil water availability and seasonal changes in temperature in Mediterranean holm oak (Quercus ilex) forest. Functional Plant Biology. 44: 1178-1193.
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Doi: 10.1071/FP17032

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Aclimatación de los bosques al aumento de la sequía: cambios funcionales y estructurales

Barbeta, A. (2016) Aclimatación de los bosques al aumento de la sequía: cambios funcionales y estructurales. Ecosistemas. 25: 144-148.
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Doi: 10.7818/ECOS.2016.25-3.19

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Sequence of plant responses to droughts of different timescales: lessons from holm oak (Quercus ilex) forests

Barbeta, A., Peñuelas, J. (2016) Sequence of plant responses to droughts of different timescales: lessons from holm oak (Quercus ilex) forests. Plant Ecology and Diversity. : 1-18.
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Doi: 10.1080/17550874.2016.1212288

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Assessment of the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems based on data from field experiments and long-term monitored field gradients in Catalonia

Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Filella, I., Estiarte, M., Llusià, J., Ogaya, R., Carnicer, J., Bartrons, M., Rivas-Ubach, A., Grau, O., Peguero, G., Margalef, O., Pla-Rabés, S., Stefanescu, C., Asensio, D., Preece, C., Liu, L., Verger, A., Rico, L., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino, M., Vives, M., Nadal-Sala, D., Sabaté, S., Gracia, C., Terradas, J. (2016) Assessment of the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems based on data from field experiments and long-term monitored field gradients in Catalonia. Environmental and Experimental Botany. : 0-0.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.012

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Topsoil depth substantially influences the responses to drought of the foliar metabolomes of Mediterranean forests

Rivas-Ubach A., Barbeta A., Sardans J., Guenther A., Ogaya R., Oravec M., Urban O., Peñuelas J. (2016) Topsoil depth substantially influences the responses to drought of the foliar metabolomes of Mediterranean forests. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 21: 41-54.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2016.06.001

Resum:

The upper soil provides support, water, and nutrients to terrestrial plants and is therefore crucial for forest dynamics. We hypothesised that a tree's metabolic activity (and therefore its metabolome; the total set of metabolites) would be affected by both the depth of upper soil layers and water availability. We sampled leaves for stoichiometric and metabolomic analyses once per season from differently sized Quercus ilex trees under natural and experimental drought conditions representing the likely conditions in the coming decades). Although the metabolomes varied according to tree size, smaller trees did not show higher concentrations of biomarker metabolites related to drought stress. However, the effect of the drought treatment on the metabolomes was greatest for small trees growing in shallow soils. Our results suggest that tree size is more dependent on the depth of the upper soil, which indirectly affects a tree's metabolome, rather than on the moisture content in the upper soil. Metabolomic profiling of Q. ilex supports our finding that water availability in the upper soil is not necessarily correlated with tree size. The higher impact of drought on trees growing in shallower soils nevertheless indicates that any increase in the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought - as has been projected for the Mediterranean Basin and other areas - would affect small trees most. Metabolomics has proved to be a useful means for investigating the links between plant metabolism and environmental conditions. © 2016.

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