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Warming and free-air CO2 enrichment alter demographics in four co-occurring grassland species


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Williams, AL, Wills, KE, Janes, JK, Vander Schoor, JK ORCID: 0000-0002-3813-5678, Newton, PCD and Hovenden, MJ ORCID: 0000-0001-7208-9700 2007 , 'Warming and free-air CO2 enrichment alter demographics in four co-occurring grassland species' , New Phytologist, vol. 176, no. 2 , pp. 365-374 , doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02170.x.

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Species differ in their responses to global changes like rising CO2 and temperature meaning that global changes are likely to change the structure of plant communities. Such alterations in community composition must be underlain by changes in the population dynamics of component species.
Here we report the impact of elevated CO2 (550 mol mol-1) and warming (+2ºC) on population growth of four plant species important in Australian temperate grasslands. We analysed data collected from the TasFACE experiment between 2003 and 2006 using population matrix models.
Population growth of Themeda triandra, a perennial C4 grass, was largely unaffected by either factor but population growth of Austrodanthonia caespitosa, a perennial C3 grass, was reduced substantially in elevated CO2 plots. Warming and elevated CO2 had antagonistic effects on population growth of two invasive weeds, Hypochaeris radicata and Leontodon taraxacoides, with warming causing population decline. Analysis of life cycle stages showed that seed production, seedling emergence and establishment were important factors in the species’ responses to global changes.
These results show that the demographic approach is very useful in understanding the variable responses of plants to global changes and elucidating the life cycle stages most responsive.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Williams, AL and Wills, KE and Janes, JK and Vander Schoor, JK and Newton, PCD and Hovenden, MJ
Keywords: FACE, elevated CO2, climate change, global warming, grassland, population matrix models, life table response experiment, demography.
Journal or Publication Title: New Phytologist
ISSN: 0028-646X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02170.x
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