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Photosynthesis, growth, and decay traits in Sphagnum - a multispecies comparison

Bengtsson, Fia and Granath, Gustaf and Rydin, Håkan (2016). Photosynthesis, growth, and decay traits in Sphagnum - a multispecies comparison. Ecology and evolution. 6:10, 3325-3341
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Abstract

Peat mosses (Sphagnum) largely govern carbon sequestration in Northern Hemisphere peatlands. We investigated functional traits related to growth and decomposition in Sphagnum species. We tested the importance of environment and phylogeny in driving species traits and investigated trade-offs among them. We selected 15 globally important Sphagnum species, representing four sections (subgenera) and a range of peatland habitats. We measured rates of photosynthesis and decomposition in standard laboratory conditions as measures of innate growth and decay potential, and related this to realized growth, production, and decomposition in their natural habitats. In general, we found support for a trade-off between measures of growth and decomposition. However, the relationships are not strong, with r ranging between 0.24 and 0.45 for different measures of growth versus decomposition. Using photosynthetic rate to predict decomposition in standard conditions yielded R-2 = 0.20. Habitat and section (phylogeny) affected the traits and the trade-offs. In a wet year, species from sections Cuspidata and Sphagnum had the highest production, but in a dry year, differences among species, sections, and habitats evened out. Cuspidata species in general produced easily decomposable litter, but their decay in the field was hampered, probably due to near-surface anoxia in their wet habitats. In a principal components analysis, PCA, photosynthetic capacity, production, and laboratory decomposition acted in the same direction. The species were imperfectly clustered according to vegetation type and phylogeny, so that some species clustered with others in the same section, whereas others clustered more clearly with others from similar vegetation types. Our study includes a wider range of species and habitats than previous trait analyses in Sphagnum and shows that while the previously described growth-decay trade-off exists, it is far from perfect. We therefore suggest that our species-specific trait measures offer opportunities for improvements of peatland ecosystem models. Innate qualities measured in laboratory conditions translate differently to field responses. Most dramatically, fast-growing species could only realize their potential in a wet year. The same species decompose fast in laboratory, but their decomposition was more retarded in the field than that of other species. These relationships are crucial for understanding the long-term dynamics of peatland communities.

Authors/Creators:Bengtsson, Fia and Granath, Gustaf and Rydin, Håkan
Title:Photosynthesis, growth, and decay traits in Sphagnum - a multispecies comparison
Series/Journal:Ecology and evolution (2045-7758)
Year of publishing :2016
Volume:6
Number:10
Page range:3325-3341
Number of Pages:17
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN:2045-7758
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Botany
Agrovoc terms:Sphagnum, photosynthetis
Keywords:Decomposition, functional traits, peat moss, photosynthetic capacity, production, trade-offs
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3943
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3943
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000376646700024
DOI10.1002/ece3.2119
ID Code:14034
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:14 Feb 2017 09:38
Metadata Last Modified:14 Feb 2017 09:38

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