Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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From pots to plots: Hierarchical trait-based prediction of plant performance in a mesic grassland
Schroeder, T.C. ; Wirth, C. ; Nadrowski, K. ; Meyer, S. ; Mommer, L. ; Weigelt, A. - \ 2016
Journal of Ecology 104 (2016)1. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 206 - 218.
Traits are powerful predictors of ecosystem functions pointing to underlying physiological and ecological processes. Plant individual performance results from the coordinated operation of many processes, ranging from nutrient uptake over organ turnover to photosynthesis, thus requiring a large set of traits for its prediction. For plant performance on higher hierarchical levels, e.g. populations, additional traits important for plant-plant and trophic interactions may be required which should even enlarge the spectrum of relevant predictor traits.(2)The goal of this study was to assess the importance of plant functional traits to predict individual and population performance of grassland species with particular focus on the significance of root traits. We tested this for 59 grassland species using 35 traits divided into three trait clusters: leaf traits (16), stature traits (8) and root traits (11), using individual biomass of mesocosm plants as a measure of individual performance and population biomass of monocultures as a measure of population performance. We applied structural equation models to disentangle direct effects of single traits on population biomass and indirect effects via individual plant biomass or shoot density.We tested multivariate trait effects on individual and population biomass to analyze whether the importance of different trait clusters shifts with increasing hierarchical integration from individuals to populations.(3)Traits of all three clusters significantly correlated with individual and population biomass. However, in spite of a number of significant correlations, above-below-ground linkages were generally week, with few exceptions like N content.(4)Stature traits exclusively affected population biomass indirectly via their effect on individual biomass, whereas root and leaf traits showed also direct effects and partly indirect effects via density.(5)The inclusion of root traits in multiple regression models improved the prediction of individual biomass compared to models with only above-ground information only slightly (95% vs. 93% of variance prediction with and without root traits, respectively) but was crucial for the prediction of population biomass (77% and 49%, respectively). Root traits were more important for plant performance than leaf traits and were even the most important predictors at the population level(6)Synthesis: Upscaling from the individual to the population level reflects an increasing number of processes requiring traits from different trait clusters for their prediction. Our results emphasize the importance of root traits for trait-based studies especially at higher organizational levels. Our approach provides a comprehensive framework acknowledging the hierarchical nature of trait influences. This is one step towards a more process-oriented assessment of trait-based approaches
TRY - a global database of plant traits
Kattge, J. ; Diaz, S. ; Lavorel, S. ; Prentices, I.C. ; Leadley, P. ; Bönisch, G. ; Garnier, E. ; Westobys, M. ; Reich, P.B. ; Wrights, I.J. ; Cornelissen, C. ; Violle, C. ; Harisson, S.P. ; Bodegom, P.M. van; Reichstein, M. ; Enquist, B.J. ; Soudzilovskaia, N.A. ; Ackerly, D.D. ; Anand, M. ; Atkin, O. ; Bahn, M. ; Baker, T.R. ; Baldochi, D. ; Bekker, R. ; Blanco, C.C. ; Blonders, B. ; Bond, W.J. ; Bradstock, R. ; Bunker, D.E. ; Casanoves, F. ; Cavender-Bares, J. ; Chambers, J.Q. ; Chapin III, F.S. ; Chave, J. ; Coomes, D. ; Cornwell, W.K. ; Craine, J.M. ; Dobrin, B.H. ; Duarte, L. ; Durka, W. ; Elser, J. ; Esser, G. ; Estiarte, M. ; Fagan, W.F. ; Fang, J. ; Fernadez-Mendez, F. ; Fidelis, A. ; Finegan, B. ; Flores, O. ; Ford, H. ; Frank, D. ; Freschet, T. ; Fyllas, N.M. ; Gallagher, R.V. ; Green, W.A. ; Gutierrez, A.G. ; Hickler, T. ; Higgins, S.I. ; Hodgson, J.G. ; Jalili, A. ; Jansen, S. ; Joly, C.A. ; Kerkhoff, A.J. ; Kirkup, D. ; Kitajima, K. ; Kleyer, M. ; Klotz, S. ; Knops, J.M.H. ; Kramer, K. ; Kühn, I. ; Kurokawa, H. ; Laughlin, D. ; Lee, T.D. ; Leishman, M. ; Lens, F. ; Lewis, S.L. ; Lloyd, J. ; Llusia, J. ; Louault, F. ; Ma, S. ; Mahecha, M.D. ; Manning, P. ; Massad, T. ; Medlyn, B.E. ; Messier, J. ; Moles, A.T. ; Müller, S.C. ; Nadrowski, K. ; Naeem, S. ; Niinemets, Ü. ; Nöllert, S. ; Nüske, A. ; Ogaya, R. ; Oleksyn, J. ; Onipchenko, V.G. ; Onoda, Y. ; Ordonez Barragan, J.C. ; Ozinga, W.A. ; Poorter, L. - \ 2011
Global Change Biology 17 (2011)9. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 2905 - 2935.
relative growth-rate - tropical rain-forest - hawaiian metrosideros-polymorpha - litter decomposition rates - leaf economics spectrum - old-field succession - sub-arctic flora - functional traits - wide-range - terrestrial biosphere
Plant traits – the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs – determine how primary producers respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes and services and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Trait data thus represent the raw material for a wide range of research from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology to biogeography. Here we present the global database initiative named TRY, which has united a wide range of the plant trait research community worldwide and gained an unprecedented buy-in of trait data: so far 93 trait databases have been contributed. The data repository currently contains almost three million trait entries for 69 000 out of the world's 300 000 plant species, with a focus on 52 groups of traits characterizing the vegetative and regeneration stages of the plant life cycle, including growth, dispersal, establishment and persistence. A first data analysis shows that most plant traits are approximately log-normally distributed, with widely differing ranges of variation across traits. Most trait variation is between species (interspecific), but significant intraspecific variation is also documented, up to 40% of the overall variation. Plant functional types (PFTs), as commonly used in vegetation models, capture a substantial fraction of the observed variation – but for several traits most variation occurs within PFTs, up to 75% of the overall variation. In the context of vegetation models these traits would better be represented by state variables rather than fixed parameter values. The improved availability of plant trait data in the unified global database is expected to support a paradigm shift from species to trait-based ecology, offer new opportunities for synthetic plant trait research and enable a more realistic and empirically grounded representation of terrestrial vegetation in Earth system models.
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