University of Oulu

Collins, C.G., Elmendorf, S.C., Hollister, R.D. et al. Experimental warming differentially affects vegetative and reproductive phenology of tundra plants. Nat Commun 12, 3442 (2021).

Experimental warming differentially affects vegetative and reproductive phenology of tundra plants

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Author: Collins, Courtney G.1; Elmendorf, Sarah C.1; Hollister, Robert D.2;
Organizations: 1Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
2Department of Biology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, USA
3Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
4Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, NT, Canada
5Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
6School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
7U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins, CO, USA
8National Park Service, Inventory & Monitoring Division, Rapid City, SD, USA
9Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
10Environmental Science Center, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
11Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
12Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
13Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, The Arctic University of Norway UiT, Tromsø, Norway
14Department of Life- and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
15The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
16Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
17Biodiversity Research Center, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
18National Park Service, Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey, UT, USA
19Department of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA
20Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
21Department of Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA
22Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Davos, Switzerland
23Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA
24Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, The University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
25Department of Environment and Sustainability, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, USA
26Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
27HOMER Energy by UL, Boulder, CO, USA
28Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, USA
29Department of Ecology and Genetics, The University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-24


Rapid climate warming is altering Arctic and alpine tundra ecosystem structure and function, including shifts in plant phenology. While the advancement of green up and flowering are well-documented, it remains unclear whether all phenophases, particularly those later in the season, will shift in unison or respond divergently to warming. Here, we present the largest synthesis to our knowledge of experimental warming effects on tundra plant phenology from the International Tundra Experiment. We examine the effect of warming on a suite of season-wide plant phenophases. Results challenge the expectation that all phenophases will advance in unison to warming. Instead, we find that experimental warming caused: (1) larger phenological shifts in reproductive versus vegetative phenophases and (2) advanced reproductive phenophases and green up but delayed leaf senescence which translated to a lengthening of the growing season by approximately 3%. Patterns were consistent across sites, plant species and over time. The advancement of reproductive seasons and lengthening of growing seasons may have significant consequences for trophic interactions and ecosystem function across the tundra.

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Series: Nature communications
ISSN: 2041-1723
ISSN-E: 2041-1723
ISSN-L: 2041-1723
Volume: 12
Issue: 1
Article number: 3442
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23841-2
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: Funding was provided by the following: Norwegian Research Council (“SnoEco” project, number 230970), the FRAM Centre Terrestrial Flagship (“SnoEcoFen” project), and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) High North Programme (“JANATEX” project, number HNP2013/10092) to Elisabeth J. Cooper. A.W. Garfield Weston Foundation Postdoctoral fellowship to Zoe A. Panchen. The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) Program Award #DE-SC0006982, #DE-SC0014085, #DE-SC0020227, and an NSF PLR Arctic System Science Research #1931333; NSF NNA: LTREB Award # 1754839 to Edward (Ted) Schuur and Marguerite Mauritz. The National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Grants #PLR-1007672, 0902096, and 0902184 to Heidi Steltzer. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (GRFP) to Carolyn Livensperger and Chiara Forester. A Semper Ardens grant from the Carlsberg Foundation to Chelsea Chisholm. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program funding to Emily Ogburn. National Science Foundation grant #’s 9907185, 632277, 856710, 1432982, 1504381, and 1836898 to Steven Oberbauer and Jeffrey Welker. National Science Foundation grant #’s 9714103, 632263, 856516, 1432277, 1504224, 1836839 to Robert Hollister. A UK Natural Environment Research Council ShrubTundra Grant (NE/M016323/1) to Isla Myers-Smith. A Stiftelsen Oscar och Lili Lamms Minne research grant to Juha Atalo. Additional funding provided by the Government of the Northwest Territories, the University Centre in Svalbard. Publication of this article was funded by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Open Access Fund, Katharine Suding, and Bob Hollister. The appropriate permits to access research sites were obtained whenever necessary and the permits/permissions necessary varied among the different sites. Specific permitting information providing access to field sites is as follows: Adventdalen: Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani A/S 06/792/051.5/PCF and Longyearbyen Local Styre (2009) 401-2 sak 34/09, Alexandra Fjord: Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Nunavut Dept of Environment (1989), Gavia Pass: Stelvio National Park (2008), Latnjajaure: Abisko Scientific Research Station permission for long-term experiment “Linking plant and soil ecology” (1994), Kangerlussaq:Government of Greenland (2002), Niwot Ridge: University of Colorado Mountain Research Station and Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Special Use Permit (1994), White Mountains: Inyo National Forest Special Use Permit (2014), Endalen: Longyearbyen Lokal Styre (2014) 456-2-X70, Toolik Lake: Bureau of Land Management Alaska Northern Field Office (1994), Atqasuk & Utqiagvik: Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation (1994), Healy: Site permissions under LAS-24220 issued to the University of Alaska by the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (2004), Jakobshorn & Val Bercla: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL (1992), Daring Lake: Wek’eezhii Land and Water Board (2009), Imnavait Creek: Bureau of Land Management Central Yukon Field Office (2009)#FF09S602, Faroe Islands: Museum of Natural History of the Faroe Islands (2001), Finse: Hallingskarvet National Park Board (2006).
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