Eastern deciduous tree seedlings advance spring phenology in response to experimental warming, but not wetting, treatments

Margot Wilkinson Kaye, Rebekah J. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Changing global climate, particularly rising temperatures, has been linked through observations with advanced spring phenology in temperate regions. We experimentally tested if regional climate change predictions of increased temperature and precipitation alter the spring phenology of eastern US tree seedlings. This study reports the results of a 3-year-field experiment designed to study the responses of eastern deciduous tree species planted in a post-harvest environment to a 2 °C increase in temperature and a 20 % increase in precipitation. Species were monitored for timing of germination and leaf out in four treatment combinations (ambient, warmed, irrigated, and warmed + irrigated) on 16 plots located in a recently harvested central Pennsylvania forest. The 2 °C warming advanced day of seed germination by an average of 2 weeks and seedling leaf out by 10 days among all species (both p < 0.001). However, increased precipitation did not result in a significant change in spring phenology. Species responded uniquely to treatments, with germination advancing in three of five species in response to warming and leaf out advancing in six of six species. Southern species projected to expand northward into the study region with rising temperatures did not show responses to warming treatments that would provide them an advantage over current resident species. Timing of germination and leaf out varied among years of the experiment, most likely driven by year-to-year variability in spring temperatures. The climate change experiment highlighted the potential of a moderate 2 °C temperature increase to advance spring phenology of deciduous tree seedlings by up to 2 weeks, with a lack of a phenological response to a 20 % increase in precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-554
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Ecology
Volume215
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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deciduous tree
wetting
phenology
warming
seedling
seedlings
germination
temperature
leaves
climate change
seed germination
regional climate
climate
global climate
prediction
experiment
seed

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

Cite this

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abstract = "Changing global climate, particularly rising temperatures, has been linked through observations with advanced spring phenology in temperate regions. We experimentally tested if regional climate change predictions of increased temperature and precipitation alter the spring phenology of eastern US tree seedlings. This study reports the results of a 3-year-field experiment designed to study the responses of eastern deciduous tree species planted in a post-harvest environment to a 2 °C increase in temperature and a 20 {\%} increase in precipitation. Species were monitored for timing of germination and leaf out in four treatment combinations (ambient, warmed, irrigated, and warmed + irrigated) on 16 plots located in a recently harvested central Pennsylvania forest. The 2 °C warming advanced day of seed germination by an average of 2 weeks and seedling leaf out by 10 days among all species (both p < 0.001). However, increased precipitation did not result in a significant change in spring phenology. Species responded uniquely to treatments, with germination advancing in three of five species in response to warming and leaf out advancing in six of six species. Southern species projected to expand northward into the study region with rising temperatures did not show responses to warming treatments that would provide them an advantage over current resident species. Timing of germination and leaf out varied among years of the experiment, most likely driven by year-to-year variability in spring temperatures. The climate change experiment highlighted the potential of a moderate 2 °C temperature increase to advance spring phenology of deciduous tree seedlings by up to 2 weeks, with a lack of a phenological response to a 20 {\%} increase in precipitation.",
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Eastern deciduous tree seedlings advance spring phenology in response to experimental warming, but not wetting, treatments. / Kaye, Margot Wilkinson; Wagner, Rebekah J.

In: Plant Ecology, Vol. 215, No. 5, 01.01.2014, p. 543-554.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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