Browsing by Subject "ROOT TRAITS"

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  • Mikola, Juha; Koikkalainen, Katariina; Rasehorn, Mira; Silfver, Tarja; Paaso, Ulla; Rousi, Matti (2021)
    Fast-growing and slow-growing plant species are suggested to show integrated economics spectrums and the tradeoffs of fast growth are predicted to emerge as susceptibility to herbivory and resource competition. We tested if these predictions also hold for fast-growing and slow-growing genotypes within a silver birch, Betula pendula population. We exposed cloned saplings of 17 genotypes with slow, medium or fast height growth to reduced insect herbivory, using an insecticide, and to increasing resource competition, using naturally varying field plot grass cover. We measured shoot and root growth, ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal production using ergosterol analysis and soil N transfer to leaves using N-15-labelled pulse of NH4+. We found that fast-growing genotypes grew on average 78% faster, produced 56% and 16% more leaf mass and ergosterol, and showed 78% higher leaf N uptake than slow-growing genotypes. The insecticide decreased leaf damage by 83% and increased shoot growth, leaf growth and leaf N uptake by 38%, 52% and 76%, without differences between the responses of fast-growing and slow-growing genotypes, whereas root mass decreased with increasing grass cover. Shoot and leaf growth of fast-growing genotypes decreased and EM fungal production of slow-growing genotypes increased with increasing grass cover. Our results suggest that fast growth is genotypically associated with higher allocation to EM fungi, better soil N capture and greater leaf production, and that the tradeoff of fast growth is sensitivity to competition, but not to insect herbivory. EM fungi may have a dual role: to support growth of fast-growing genotypes under low grass competition and to maintain growth of slow-growing genotypes under intensifying competition.
  • Nutrient Network; Aakala, Tuomas; Makela, Annikki (2020)
    Plant traits-the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants-determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait-based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits-almost complete coverage for 'plant growth form'. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait-environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects. We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives.