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Impact of long-term water level draw-down on functional plant trait composition of northern peatlands

Authors: Laine-Petäjäkangas, Anna Maria; Korrensalo, Aino; Kokkonen, Nicola A K; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina;

Impact of long-term water level draw-down on functional plant trait composition of northern peatlands

Abstract

We measured the following vascular plant functional traits: plant height (cm), leaf size (LS, cm2), specific leaf area (SLA, cm2 g-1), leaf dry matter content (LDMC, mg g-1) and leaf moisture content (g g-1) from the most common species in each research unit. We measured the following Sphagnum traits: capitulum density (number of shoots cm-2), fascicle density (number cm-1), surface density (mg cm-3), capitulum dry mass (mg) and capitulum moisture content (cap_wc, g g-1). In addition, rate of net photosynthesis was measured at four light levels. The data was collected from Lakkasuo mire complex located in Southern Finland (61° 47' N; 24° 18' E). The study includes three sites called rich fen, poor fen, and bog. At each site two experimental units were established in 2000/2001: an undrained control unit and a Water level drawdown (WLD) unit that was surrounded by a 30 cm-deep ditches after a control year. Photosynthesis measurements were carried out during summer 2016, while other traits were sampled during August 2016. We measured vascular plant vegetative height (cm), leaf area (LA, cm2 leaf-1) with a leaf area scanner (LI-3000, LI-COR Inc.), leaf fresh mass and leaf dry mass after the sample was dried at 40 °C for at least 48h (mg leaf-1). Leaf dry matter content (LDMC mg g-1) was calculated from fresh and dry mass, while specific leaf area (SLA, cm2 g-1) was calculated from LA and dry mass. Leaf traits were measured from five replicate plants as an average of a sample of ten fully grown healthy leaves from each plant. Sphagnum moss traits were measured from five replicates of single-species samples. Each sample consisted of two parts: a volume-specific sample collected with a core (diameter 7 cm, area 38.5 cm2, height 3 cm) to maintain the natural density of the stand and an additional sample of ca. 10 individuals, with stems more than 5 cm at length. Before collecting the core in the field, the number of shoots was counted from a 4 × 4 cm square for capitulum density (cap_dens, number of shoots cm-2). The volume-specific sample was cleaned of litter and unwanted species before drying at 40 °C for at least 48h to determine the surface density (surf_dens, mg cm-3). The additional sample of ten moss individuals was divided into capitula and stems (4 cm below capitula). We counted the number of fascicles on the 4 cm stem segments (fasc_dens, number cm-1). The capitula were thoroughly moistened and placed on top of tissue paper for 2 minutes to drain, before weighing them for water-filled fresh mass (cap_fw, mg). The samples were dried at 60 °C for at least 48h to measure the capitulum dry masses (cap_dw, mg). The moisture contents of capitula (cap_mc, g g-1) were then calculated as the ratio of water-filled to dry mass. Height growth (mm growing season-1) was measured in the field with the modified cranked wire method (Clymo 1970) as a difference in height between the beginning (mid-May) and end (mid-October) of the growing season 2017. For both vascular plants and mosses, we measured net photosynthesis rate, with a fully controlled, flow-through gas-exchange fluorescence measurement systems (GFS-3000, Walz, Germany; LI6400, LI-COR, USA). For mosses the living apical parts (~0.5 to 1 cm) were harvested right before the measurement and placed on a custom-made cuvette. For vascular plants, leaves, or in the case of shrubs, segments of branches were enclosed within the cuvette without disturbing the connection to the rooting system. Net photosynthesis rate (A, µmol m-2 g-1 s-1) was measured at 1500, 250, 35, and 0 µmol m-2 s-1 photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD). The cuvette conditions were kept constant (temperature 20°C, CO2 concentration 400 ppm, flow rate 500, impeller in level 5). Relative humidity (Rh) of incoming air was set to 40% for vascular plants and 60% for mosses; for mosses this setting retained the cuvette Rh at around 80%. The setting enabled mosses to remain moist to ensure photosynthesis but protected the device from excess moisture. The data was collected to find out the impact of long-term WLD on functional traits of vascular plants and mosses, and how this impact is modulated by nutrient status (rich fen, poor fen, bog). We first assess (i) how peatland species differ in their traits and their intraspecific trait variability, to quantify (ii) how WLD impacts community level traits at different peatland sites.

Keywords

functional plant traits, fen, bog, hydrological change, trait-based ecology, plant photosynthesis, sphagnum, water table

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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    0
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
0
Average
Average
Average
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