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Plant traits poorly predict winner and loser shrub species in a warming tundra biome

June 28, 2023

Climate change is leading to species redistributions. In the tundra biome, shrubs are generally expanding, but not all tundra shrub species will benefit from warming. Winner and loser species, and the characteristics that may determine success or failure, have not yet been fully identified. Here, we investigate whether past abundance changes, current range sizes and projected range shifts derived from species distribution models are related to plant trait values and intraspecific trait variation. We combined 17,921 trait records with observed past and modelled future distributions from 62 tundra shrub species across three continents. We found that species with greater variation in seed mass and specific leaf area had larger projected range shifts, and projected winner species had greater seed mass values. However, trait values and variation were not consistently related to current and projected ranges, nor to past abundance change. Overall, our findings indicate that abundance change and range shifts will not lead to directional modifications in shrub trait composition, since winner and loser species share relatively similar trait spaces.

Publication Year 2023
Title Plant traits poorly predict winner and loser shrub species in a warming tundra biome
DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-39573-4
Authors Mariana García Criado, Isla H. Myers-Smith, Anne Bjorkman, Signe Normand, Anne Blach-Overgaard, Haydn J. D. Thomas, Anu Eskelinen, Konsta Happonen, Juha Alatalo, Alba Anadon-Rosell, Isabelle Aubin, Mariska te Beest, Katlyn R. Betway-May, Daan Blok, Allan Buras, Bruno E. L. Cerabolini, Katherine S. Christie, J. Hans C. Cornelissen, Bruce C. Forbes, Esther R. Frei, Paul Grogan, Luise Hermanutz, Robert D. Hollister, James Hudson, Maitane Iturrate-Garcia, Elina Kaarlejärvi, Michael Kleyer, Laurent J. Lamarque, Jonas J. Lembrechts, Esther Lévesque, Miska Luoto, Petr Macek, Jeremy May, Janet S. Prevéy, Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, Serge N. Sheremetiev, Laura Siegwart Collier, Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Andrew Trant, Susanna E. Venn, Anna-Maria Virkkala
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature Communications
Index ID 70248113
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center