Plants with Lengthened Phenophases Increase Their Dominance Under Warming in an Alpine Plant Community
Predicting how shifts in plant phenology affect species dominance remains challenging, because plant phenology and species dominance have been largely investigated independently. Moreover, most phenological research has primarily focused on phenological firsts (leaf-out and first flower dates), leading to a lack of representation of phenological lasts (leaf senescence and last flower) and full phenological periods (growing season length and flower duration). Here, we simultaneously investigated the effects of experimental warming on different phenological events of various species and species dominance in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. Warming significantly advanced phenological firsts for most species but had variable effects on phenological lasts. As a result, warming tended to extend species' full phenological periods, although this trend was not significant for all species. Experimental warming reduced community evenness and differentially impacted species dominance. Shifts in full phenological periods, rather than a single shift in phenological firsts or phenological lasts, were associated with changes in species dominance. Species with lengthened full phenological periods under warming increased their dominance. Our results advance the understanding of how altered species-specific phenophases relate to changes in community structure in response to climate change.
Chen, Ji; Luo, Yiqi; Chen, Yuxin; Felton, Andrew J.; Hopping, Kelly A.; Wang, Rui-Wu; . . . and Jørgensen, Uffe. (2020). "Plants with Lengthened Phenophases Increase Their Dominance Under Warming in an Alpine Plant Community". Science of the Total Environment, 728, 138891. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138891