leaf economics spectrum
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2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Enrique G. de la Riva ◽  
José Ignacio Querejeta ◽  
Rafael Villar ◽  
Ignacio M. Pérez-Ramos ◽  
Teodoro Marañón ◽  

Extensive research efforts are devoted to understand fine root trait variation and to confirm the existence of a belowground root economics spectrum (RES) from acquisitive to conservative root strategies that is analogous to the leaf economics spectrum (LES). The economics spectrum implies a trade-off between maximizing resource acquisition and productivity or maximizing resource conservation and longevity; however, this theoretical framework still remains controversial for roots. We compiled a database of 320 Mediterranean woody and herbaceous species to critically assess if the classic economics spectrum theory can be broadly extended to roots. Fine roots displayed a wide diversity of forms and properties in Mediterranean vegetation, resulting in a multidimensional trait space. The main trend of variation in this multidimensional root space is analogous to the main axis of LES, while the second trend of variation is partially determined by an anatomical trade-off between tissue density and diameter. Specific root area (SRA) is the main trait explaining species distribution along the RES, regardless of the selected traits. We advocate for the need to unify and standardize the criteria and approaches used within the economics framework between leaves and roots, for the sake of theoretical consistency.

2021 ◽  
Robert W Heckman ◽  
Jason E Bonnette ◽  
Brandon E Campitelli ◽  
Philip A Fay ◽  
Thomas E Juenger

The leaf economics spectrum (LES) is hypothesized to result from a trade-off between resource acquisition and conservation. Yet few studies have examined the evolutionary mechanisms behind the LES, perhaps because most species exhibit relatively specialized leaf economics strategies. In a genetic mapping population of the phenotypically diverse grass Panicum virgatum, we evaluate two interacting mechanisms that may drive LES evolution: 1) genetic architecture, where multiple traits are coded by the same gene (pleiotropy) or by genes in close physical proximity (linkage), and 2) correlational selection, where selection acts non-additively on combinations of multiple traits. We found evidence suggesting that shared genetic architecture (pleiotropy) controls covariation between two pairs of leaf economics traits. Additionally, at five common gardens spanning 17 degrees of latitude, correlational selection favored particular combinations of leaf economics traits. Together, these results demonstrate how the LES can evolve within species.

2021 ◽  
Kenny Helsen ◽  
Tsung-Yi Lin ◽  
David Zeleny

While functional trait-trait and trait-environment relationships are well studied in angiosperms, it is less clear if similar relationships, such as the leaf economics spectrum (LES), hold for ferns and lycophytes. Similarly, studies exploring potential differences in trait-trait and trait-environment relationships between terrestrial and epiphytic fern communities in a given ecosystem are largely lacking. We measured nine leaf traits for 76 terrestrial and 43 epiphytic fern and lycophyte species across 59 vegetation plots along an elevation gradient in the subtropical forest of Northern Taiwan. We explored trait-trait and trait-environment relationships at both the species- and community level for both species groups. Epiphytes differed from terrestrial ferns and lycophytes in species- and community-level trait values, mainly reflecting responses to higher drought and nutrient stress. The angiosperm LES was reflected in the trait-trait correlations of terrestrial ferns, but not of epiphytes. This suggests that epiphytic trait patterns are mainly shaped by water, rather than nutrient availability. Trait-environment relationships were nonetheless more-or-less similar for several drought-related traits across both species' groups. This study illustrates that ferns and lycophyte trait patterns are not equivalent for epiphytic and terrestrial species or communities, and should not be extrapolated across species groups or between the species- and community-level.

2021 ◽  
Clay J. Morrow ◽  
Samuel J. Jaeger ◽  
Richard L. Lindroth

Abstract Patterns of trait expression within some plant species have recently been shown to follow patterns described by the leaf economics spectrum paradigm. Resistance to herbivores is also expected to covary with leaf economics traits. We selected multiple mature Populus tremuloides genotypes from a common garden to assess whether aspen leaf economics patterns follow those observed among species globally. We also evaluated leaf economics strategies in the context of insect resistance by conducting bioassays to determine the effects of plant traits on preference and performance of Lymantria dispar. We found that: 1) intraspecific trait patterns of P. tremuloides parallel those exhibited by the interspecific leaf economics spectrum, 2) herbivores preferred leaves from genotypes with resource-acquisitive strategies, and 3) herbivores also performed best on genotypes with resource-acquisitive strategies. We conclude that a leaf economics spectrum that incorporates defense traits is a useful tool for explaining intraspecific patterns of variation in plant strategies, including resistance to herbivores.

2021 ◽  
Uğur Uzay Sezen ◽  
Samantha J. Worthy ◽  
Maria N. Umaña ◽  
Stuart J. Davies ◽  
Sean M McMahon ◽  

Lianas, climbing woody plants, influence the structure and function of tropical forests. Climbing traits have evolved multiple times, including ancestral groups such as gymnosperms and pteridophytes, but the genetic basis of the liana strategy is largely unknown. Here, we use a comparative transcriptomic approach for 47 tropical plant species, including ten lianas of diverse taxonomic origins, to identify genes that are consistently expressed or downregulated only in lianas. Our comparative analysis of full-length transcripts enabled the identification of a core interactomic network common to lianas. Sets of transcripts identified from our analysis reveal features related to functional traits pertinent to leaf economics spectrum in lianas, include upregulation of genes controlling epidermal cuticular properties, cell wall remodeling, carbon concentrating mechanism, cell cycle progression, DNA repair and a large suit of downregulated transcription factors and enzymes involved in ABA-mediated stress response as well as lignin and suberin synthesis. All together, these genes are known to be significant in shaping plant morphologies through responses such as gravitropism, phyllotaxy and shade avoidance.

2021 ◽  
Ellie Goud ◽  
Anurag Agrawal ◽  
Jed Sparks

Abstract Despite long-standing theory for classifying plant ecological strategies, limited data directly links organismal traits to whole-plant growth. We compared trait-growth relationships based on three prominent theories: growth analysis, Grime’s CSR triangle, and the leaf economics spectrum (LES). Under these schemes, growth is hypothesized to be predicted by traits related to biomass investments, leaf structure or gas exchange, respectively. In phylogenetic analyses of 30 diverse milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) and 21 morphological and ecophysiological traits, growth rate varied 50-fold and was best predicted by growth analysis and CSR traits, as well as total leaf area and plant height. Despite two LES traits correlating with growth, they contradicted predictions and leaf traits did not scale with root and stem characteristics. Thus, although combining leaf traits and whole-plant allocation best predicts growth, when destructive measures are not feasible, we suggest total leaf area and plant height, or easy-to-measure traits associated with the CSR classification.

2021 ◽  
Vol 193 (S1) ◽  
Miguel A. Cebrián-Piqueras ◽  
Juliane Trinogga ◽  
Anastasia Trenkamp ◽  
Vanessa Minden ◽  
Martin Maier ◽  

AbstractRecent empirical and theoretical approaches have called for an understanding of the processes underpinning ecosystem service provision. Environmental gradients have shown effects on key plant functional traits that subsequently explain ecosystem properties of several systems. However, little is known concerning how associations between plant functional traits, including both below- and aboveground plant components, predict ecosystem properties and independently measured final ecosystem services. Here, we modeled (1) the responses of the leaf and plant economics spectrum, Plant size axis, and root growth to environmental gradients and (2) how associations between plant functional traits explain trade-offs and synergies between multiple ecosystem properties and final services. Forty-four plots were studied in a coastal marsh landscape of the German North Sea Coast. We used a partial least square structural equation model approach to test the hypothesized model. We found (1) a negative covariation between plant traits pertaining to a size axis and traits explaining both plant growth (roots and stems) and the leaf economics spectrum; (2) this trade-off responded significantly to the land use gradient and nutrient availability, which were both strongly driven by the groundwater gradient; (3) this trade-off explained an initial major trade-off between carbon stocks, at one extreme of the axis, and both the habitat value to conserve endangered plants and forage production for meat and dairy products at the other extreme. However, a secondary trade-off between nature conservation value and forage production, explained by a trade-off between leaf economics spectrum and plant growth in response to the land use intensity gradient, was also found.

Cells ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 10 (3) ◽  
pp. 644
Rabea Schweiger ◽  
Eva Castells ◽  
Luca Da Sois ◽  
Jordi Martínez-Vilalta ◽  
Caroline Müller

Plants show an extraordinary diversity in chemical composition and are characterized by different functional traits. However, relationships between the foliar primary and specialized metabolism in terms of metabolite numbers and composition as well as links with the leaf economics spectrum have rarely been explored. We investigated these relationships in leaves of 20 woody species from the Mediterranean region grown as saplings in a common garden, using a comparative ecometabolomics approach that included (semi-)polar primary and specialized metabolites. Our analyses revealed significant positive correlations between both the numbers and relative composition of primary and specialized metabolites. The leaf metabolomes were highly species-specific but in addition showed some phylogenetic imprints. Moreover, metabolomes of deciduous species were distinct from those of evergreens. Significant relationships were found between the primary metabolome and nitrogen content and carbon/nitrogen ratio, important traits of the leaf economics spectrum, ranging from acquisitive (mostly deciduous) to conservative (evergreen) leaves. A comprehensive understanding of various leaf traits and their coordination in different plant species may facilitate our understanding of plant functioning in ecosystems. Chemodiversity is thereby an important component of biodiversity.

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