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Flowering, seed production and seed mass in a species rich temperate grassland exposed to FACE and warming


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Hovenden, MJ ORCID: 0000-0001-7208-9700, Wills, KE, Vander Schoor, JK ORCID: 0000-0002-3813-5678, Chaplin, RE, Williams, AL, Nolan, MJ and Newton, PCD 2007 , 'Flowering, seed production and seed mass in a species rich temperate grassland exposed to FACE and warming' , Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 55, no. 8 , pp. 780-794 , doi: 10.1071/BT07107.

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Long term effects of climate change on plant communities must be mediated by reproductive and recruitment responses of component species. From spring 2003 until autumn 2006, we monitored flowering and seed production responses to free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) and 2ºC warming in a species-rich, nutrient-poor southern temperate grassland using the TasFACE experiment. There were no effects of either FACE or warming on the proportion of species flowering in any year. Flowering, seed production and seed mass were not significantly affected by FACE, warming or their interaction in most species. Some species, however, did respond significantly to simulated global changes. These responses generally were not governed by life history, but there were two distinct trends. Firstly, warming increased the proportion of the population that flowered in perennial grasses but not in other species types. Secondly, flowering and seed production of both perennial woody dicots responded strongly to the interaction of FACE and warming with Bossiaea prostrata producing most seeds in warmed FACE plots and Hibbertia hirsuta producing the most in unwarmed FACE plots. FACE increased seed mass four fold in the perennial C3 grass Elymus scaber (P<0.01) but substantially reduced seed mass of the perennial C3 grass Austrodanthonia caespitosa (P<0.02) and the perennial forb Hypochaeris radicata (P<0.02), with the remainder of species unaffected. Our results indicate that warming and elevated CO2 had little effect on seed production in the temperate grassland ecosystem. The few significant affects there were, however, are likely to have substantial implications for community composition and structure.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hovenden, MJ and Wills, KE and Vander Schoor, JK and Chaplin, RE and Williams, AL and Nolan, MJ and Newton, PCD
Keywords: global warming, elevated CO2, ecology, ecosystem, FACE
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Botany
ISSN: 0067-1924
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/BT07107
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