Foliar pH as a new plant trait: can it explain variation in foliar chemistry and carbon cycling processes among subartic plant species and types?

Authors
Cornelissen, Johannes H. C.; Quested, H.M.; Van Logtestijn, R. S. P.; Pérez Harguindeguy, Natalia; Gwyn Jones, D.; Díaz, Sandra Myrna; Gallaghan, T. V.; Press, M. C.; Aerts, R.
Publication Year
2006
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
Plant traits have become popular as predictors of interspecific variation in important ecosystem properties and processes. Here we introduce foliar pH as a possible new plant trait, and tested whether (1) green leaf pH or leaf litter pH correlates with biochemical and structural foliar traits that are linked to biogeochemical cycling; (2) there is consistent variation in green leaf pH or leaf litter pH among plant types as defined by nutrient uptake mode and higher taxonomy; (3) green leaf pH can predict a significant proportion of variation in leaf digestibility among plant species and types; (4) leaf litter pH can predict a significant proportion of variation in leaf litter decomposability among plant species and types. We found some evidence in support of all four hypotheses for a wide range of species in a subarctic flora, although cryptogams (fern allies and a moss) tended to weaken the patterns by showing relatively poor leaf digestibility or litter decomposability at a given pH. Among seed plant species, green leaf pH itself explained only up to a third of the interspecific variation in leaf digestibility and leaf litter up to a quarter of the interspecific variation in leaf litter decomposability. However, foliar pH substantially improved the power of foliar lignin and/or cellulose concentrations as predictors of these processes when added to regression models as a second variable. When species were aggregated into plant types as defined by higher taxonomy and nutrient uptake mode, green-specific leaf area was a more powerful predictor of digestibility or decomposability than any of the biochemical traits including pH. The usefulness of foliar pH as a new predictive trait, whether or not in combination with other traits, remains to be tested across more plant species, types and biomes, and also in relation to other plant or ecosystem traits and processes.
Fil: Cornelissen, Johannes H. C.. Vrije Universiteit. Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. Department of Systems Ecology. Institute of Ecological Science; Países Bajos
Fil: Quested, H.M.. Stockholms Universitet; Suecia
Fil: Van Logtestijn, R. S. P.. Vrije Universiteit. Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. Department of Systems Ecology. Institute of Ecological Science; Países Bajos
Fil: Pérez Harguindeguy, Natalia. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales. Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal; Argentina
Fil: Gwyn Jones, D.. University of Wales; Reino Unido
Fil: Díaz, Sandra Myrna. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales. Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal; Argentina
Fil: Gallaghan, T. V.. Abisko Scientific Research Station. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Suecia
Fil: Press, M. C.. University of Sheffield; Reino Unido
Fil: Aerts, R.. Vrije Universiteit. Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. Department of Systems Ecology. Institute of Ecological Science; Países Bajos
Subject
ANTI HERBIVORE DEFENCE
LITTER DECOMPOSITION
FUNCTIONAL TRAITS
LEAF ACIDITY
SPECIFIC LEAF AREA
Otras Ciencias Biológicas
Ciencias Biológicas
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/32990