Backhaus, S; Kreyling, J; Beierkuhnlein, C; Buhk, C; Nagy, L; Thiel, D; Jentsch, A: A transplantation experiment along climatic gradients suggests limitations of experimental warming manipulations, Climate Research, 60, 63-71 (2014), doi:10.3354/cr01219
Transplantation to a warmer site and experimental passive warming are powerful tools for predicting plant responses to climate change. Both techniques are widely applied for the study of plant species and community response to temperature increase. We investigate differences in height increment of Fagus sylvatica seedlings between two different techniques, i.e. experimental warming (passive warming) and transplantation to a warmer site. Additionally, the plants were exposed to an extreme drought, to further examine the influence of the different warming techniques in combination with an additional climatic driver. We found significant differences between the two warming techniques for height increment, which were mainly attributed to stronger differentiation if further exposed to drought (significant interaction between warming and drought). Surprisingly, when subjected to drought, experimental warming had no negative effect on height increment of seedlings, while transplantation decreased height increment by 32% when subjected to drought. Growth did not show a linear dependence on the magnitude of warming. Differences between the warming techniques can therefore not be explained by differences in realized temperature increases. The results of this study emphasize the complexity of simulating global warming, as required for accurate prediction of shifts in plant performance. The role of co-varying parameters such as evapotranspiration, photosynthetically active radiation, and wind speed in addition to experimental temperature increases should be acknowledged when analyzing ecological responses to climate warming.
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