University of Oulu

Jessen, M‐T, Kaarlejärvi, E, Olofsson, J, Eskelinen, A. Mammalian herbivory shapes intraspecific trait responses to warmer climate and nutrient enrichment. Glob Change Biol. 2020; 26: 6742– 6752.

Mammalian herbivory shapes intraspecific trait responses to warmer climate and nutrient enrichment

Saved in:
Author: Jessen, Maria‐Theresa1,2,3; Kaarlejärvi, Elina4; Olofsson, Johan5;
Organizations: 1Department of Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Halle, Germany
2Department of Physiological Diversity, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
3German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle‐Jena‐Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
4Research Centre for Ecological Change, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Umea University, Umea, Sweden
6Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-19


Variation in intraspecific traits is one important mechanism that can allow plant species to respond to global changes. Understanding plant trait responses to environmental changes such as grazing patterns, nutrient enrichment and climate warming is, thus, essential for predicting the composition of future plant communities. We measured traits of eight common tundra species in a fully factorial field experiment with mammalian herbivore exclusion, fertilization, and passive warming, and assessed how trait responsiveness to the treatments was associated with abundance changes in those treatments. Herbivory exhibited the strongest impact on traits. Exclusion of herbivores increased vegetative plant height by 50% and specific leaf area (SLA) by 19%, and decreased foliar C:N by 11%; fertilization and warming also increased height and SLA but to a smaller extent. Herbivory also modulated intraspecific height, SLA and foliar C:N responses to fertilization and warming, and these interactions were species‐specific. Furthermore, herbivory affected how trait change translated into relative abundance change: increased height under warming and fertilization was more positively related to abundance change inside fences than in grazed plots. Our findings highlight the key role of mammalian herbivory when assessing intraspecific trait change in tundra and its consequences for plant performance under global changes.

see all

Series: Global change biology
ISSN: 1354-1013
ISSN-E: 1365-2486
ISSN-L: 1354-1013
Volume: 26
Issue: 12
Pages: 6742 - 6752
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15378
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was funded by the iDiv Flexpool program (grant no. 34600565‐11) and the Academy of Finland (projects 253385 and 29719) to A.E. and Swedish Research Council (VR, 2015‐00498) to E.K. The Research Centre for Ecological Change is funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. Open access funding enabled and organized by ProjektDEAL.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 253385
Detailed Information: 253385 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
29719 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.