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Patterns in intraspecific variation in root traits are species‐specific along an elevation gradient

Abstract : 1. Intraspecific trait variation is an important driver of plant performance in different environments. Although roots acquire essential resources that vary with the environment, most studies have focused on intraspecific variation in leaf traits, and research on roots is often restricted to a few species. It remains largely unclear how and to what extent root traits vary with the environment and whether general intraspecific patterns exist across species. 2. We compared intraspecific variation in specific root length (SRL), root diameter, root tissue density (RTD) and root branching density of 11 species along a 1000 m elevation gradient in the French Alps. We tested 1) the extent of intra- versus interspecific root trait variation along the gradient, 2) whether intraspecific trait patterns with elevation were consistent among species and 3) whether environmental variables better explained intraspecific variation in root traits than elevation. Specifically, we hypothesised that within a species, root trait values would adjust to enhance resource acquisition (either through an increase in SRL or root diameter, and/or branching density) and/or conservation (increased RTD) at higher elevations. 3. Species identity explained most of the overall variation in root traits. Elevation explained only a minor proportion of intraspecific root trait variation, which varied more strongly within than between elevations. Also, trait relationships with elevation rarely agreed with our hypotheses,
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03030429
Contributor : Catherine Roumet <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 30, 2020 - 9:47:54 AM
Last modification on : Monday, January 4, 2021 - 3:19:31 PM

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Monique Weemstra, Gregoire Freschet, Alexia Stokes, Catherine Roumet. Patterns in intraspecific variation in root traits are species‐specific along an elevation gradient. Functional Ecology, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/1365-2435.13723⟩. ⟨hal-03030429⟩

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