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Palaeo leaf economics reveal a shift in ecosystem function associated with the end-Triassic mass extinction event.
Nat Plants. 2017 Jul 17; 3:17104.NP

Abstract

Climate change is likely to have altered the ecological functioning of past ecosystems, and is likely to alter functioning in the future; however, the magnitude and direction of such changes are difficult to predict. Here we use a deep-time case study to evaluate the impact of a well-constrained CO2-induced global warming event on the ecological functioning of dominant plant communities. We use leaf mass per area (LMA), a widely used trait in modern plant ecology, to infer the palaeoecological strategy of fossil plant taxa. We show that palaeo-LMA can be inferred from fossil leaf cuticles based on a tight relationship between LMA and cuticle thickness observed among extant gymnosperms. Application of this new palaeo-LMA proxy to fossil gymnosperms from East Greenland reveals significant shifts in the dominant ecological strategies of vegetation found across the Triassic-Jurassic transition. Late Triassic forests, dominated by low-LMA taxa with inferred high transpiration rates and short leaf lifespans, were replaced in the Early Jurassic by forests dominated by high-LMA taxa that were likely to have slower metabolic rates. We suggest that extreme CO2-induced global warming selected for taxa with high LMA associated with a stress-tolerant strategy and that adaptive plasticity in leaf functional traits such as LMA contributed to post-warming ecological success.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Biology and Environmental Science, Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia.School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia.Department of Geological Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, SE-109 61 Stockholm, Sweden. Department of Paleobiology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden.School of Mathematics &Statistics, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.School of Biology and Environmental Science, Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28714942

Citation

Soh, W K., et al. "Palaeo Leaf Economics Reveal a Shift in Ecosystem Function Associated With the end-Triassic Mass Extinction Event." Nature Plants, vol. 3, 2017, p. 17104.
Soh WK, Wright IJ, Bacon KL, et al. Palaeo leaf economics reveal a shift in ecosystem function associated with the end-Triassic mass extinction event. Nat Plants. 2017;3:17104.
Soh, W. K., Wright, I. J., Bacon, K. L., Lenz, T. I., Steinthorsdottir, M., Parnell, A. C., & McElwain, J. C. (2017). Palaeo leaf economics reveal a shift in ecosystem function associated with the end-Triassic mass extinction event. Nature Plants, 3, 17104. https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2017.104
Soh WK, et al. Palaeo Leaf Economics Reveal a Shift in Ecosystem Function Associated With the end-Triassic Mass Extinction Event. Nat Plants. 2017 Jul 17;3:17104. PubMed PMID: 28714942.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Palaeo leaf economics reveal a shift in ecosystem function associated with the end-Triassic mass extinction event. AU - Soh,W K, AU - Wright,I J, AU - Bacon,K L, AU - Lenz,T I, AU - Steinthorsdottir,M, AU - Parnell,A C, AU - McElwain,J C, Y1 - 2017/07/17/ PY - 2016/07/10/received PY - 2017/06/09/accepted PY - 2017/7/18/entrez PY - 2017/7/18/pubmed PY - 2017/11/14/medline SP - 17104 EP - 17104 JF - Nature plants JO - Nat Plants VL - 3 N2 - Climate change is likely to have altered the ecological functioning of past ecosystems, and is likely to alter functioning in the future; however, the magnitude and direction of such changes are difficult to predict. Here we use a deep-time case study to evaluate the impact of a well-constrained CO2-induced global warming event on the ecological functioning of dominant plant communities. We use leaf mass per area (LMA), a widely used trait in modern plant ecology, to infer the palaeoecological strategy of fossil plant taxa. We show that palaeo-LMA can be inferred from fossil leaf cuticles based on a tight relationship between LMA and cuticle thickness observed among extant gymnosperms. Application of this new palaeo-LMA proxy to fossil gymnosperms from East Greenland reveals significant shifts in the dominant ecological strategies of vegetation found across the Triassic-Jurassic transition. Late Triassic forests, dominated by low-LMA taxa with inferred high transpiration rates and short leaf lifespans, were replaced in the Early Jurassic by forests dominated by high-LMA taxa that were likely to have slower metabolic rates. We suggest that extreme CO2-induced global warming selected for taxa with high LMA associated with a stress-tolerant strategy and that adaptive plasticity in leaf functional traits such as LMA contributed to post-warming ecological success. SN - 2055-0278 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28714942/Palaeo_leaf_economics_reveal_a_shift_in_ecosystem_function_associated_with_the_end_Triassic_mass_extinction_event_ L2 - http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2017.104 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -