Do patterns of intra-specific variability and community weighted-means of leaf traits correspond? An example from alpine plants

Vladimir G. Onipchenko*, Artem O. Rozhin, Vadim E. Smirnov, Asem A. Akhmetzhanova, Tatiana G. Elumeeva, Olga P. Khubieva, Ksenia V. Dudova, Nadezhda A. Soudzilovskaia, Johannes H.C. Cornelissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Intraspecific variability of the traits is usually less than interspecific, but directions of inter-and intraspecific variation along environmental gradients are not well studied. For 17 alpine species we test a hypothesis that the direction of intraspecific variation in leaf traits among different communities along an environmental gradient coincides consistently with community weighted mean (CWM) trait variation at the community level along the same gradient. We obtained two groups of leaf traits according to their response to CWM and topographic (snow depth and snow melt) gradients. For leaf mass and area intraspecific variation corresponded to CWM variation among communities. SLA, water content and leaf thickness patterns within species changed directly among communities according to the toposequence (snowmelt gradient). These results are well expressed for forbs, but mostly they were not significant for graminoids. For leaf area we obtained opposite response of forbs and graminoids to snowmelt gradient. Forbs increased, but graminoids decreased leaf area when snow depth increased. Intraspecific trait variation across natural gradients does not necessarily follow that for interspecific or community-level variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalBotanica Pacifica
Volume9
Issue number1
Early online date9 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Alpine plant communities
  • Caucasus
  • Community weighted mean
  • Leaf functional traits
  • Specific leaf area

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