Decreasing snow cover alters functional composition and diversity of Arctic tundra

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Decreasing snow cover alters functional composition and diversity of Arctic tundra. Pekka Niittynen, Risto K. Heikkinen, Miska Luoto. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sep 2020, 117 (35) 21480-21487. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2001254117

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Title: Decreasing snow cover alters functional composition and diversity of Arctic tundra
Author: Niittynen, Pekka; Heikkinen, Risto K.; Luoto, Miska
Date: 2020
Language: en
Belongs to series: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117: 35, 21480-21487
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2001254117
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336012
Abstract: The Arctic is one of the least human-impacted parts of the world, but, in turn, tundra biome is facing the most rapid climate change on Earth. These perturbations may cause major reshuffling of Arctic species compositions and functional trait profiles and diversity, thereby affecting ecosystem processes of the whole tundra region. Earlier research has detected important drivers of the change in plant functional traits under warming climate, but studies on one key factor, snow cover, are almost totally lacking. Here we integrate plot-scale vegetation data with detailed climate and snow information using machine learning methods to model the responsiveness of tundra communities to different scenarios of warming and snow cover duration. Our results show that decreasing snow cover, together with warming temperatures, can substantially modify biotic communities and their trait compositions, with future plant communities projected to be occupied by taller plants with larger leaves and faster resource acquisition strategies. As another finding, we show that, while the local functional diversity may increase, simultaneous biotic homogenization across tundra communities is likely to occur. The manifestation of climate warming on tundra vegetation is highly dependent on the evolution of snow conditions. Given this, realistic assessments of future ecosystem functioning require acknowledging the role of snow in tundra vegetation models.
Description: Significance Plant functional traits are central instruments in developing understanding and predicting biodiversity patterns and ecosystems processes. Snow is an important ecological factor in cold climates, but its contribution to the evolution of functionality of tundra vegetation is poorly known and insufficiently addressed in the research. We show here that snow has a fundamental effect in mediating climate change impacts on functional composition and diversity of Arctic tundra vegetation. As a whole, Arctic landscapes may lose spatial heterogeneity because plant communities will be functionally more alike, although the local functional diversity may increase. Our results highlight that future snow conditions and their fine-scale variability should be acknowledged in the next generation of Arctic vegetation−ecosystem models.
Subject: remote sensing
species distribution modeling
microclimate
winter ecology
alpine mountain
decreasing snow covers
functional composition
diversity
Arctic
Arctic tundra
Arctic landscape
Arctic species
tundra
tundra vegetation
tundra biome
tundra region
tundra communities
snow
snow cover duration
evolution of snow conditions
cold climate
biotic communities
plants
plant communities
tall plants
large leaves
faster resource acquisition
plot-scale vegetation data
predicting biodiversity patterns
ecosystem processes
mediating climate change impacts
spatial heterogeneity loss
Arctic vegetation−ecosystem models
role of snow in tundra vegetation models
human impact
climate change
rapid climate change
Earth
perturbation
lacking research
lack of research
machine learning
machine learning method
machine learning methods
modelling
responsiveness
different scenarios
warming
trait composition
biotic homogenization
Subject (ysa): kaukokartoitus
lajien levinneisyysmallinnus
mikroilmasto
talviekologia
alppivuori
vähenevä lumipeite
monimuotoisuus
Arktinen alue
Arktis
arktinen tundra
arktinen maisema
arktiset lajit
tundra
tundran rehevöityminen
tundran biomi
tundrayhteisöt
lumi
lumipeitteen kesto
lumiolosuhteiden evoluutio
kylmä ilmasto
bioottiset yhteisöt
kasvit
kasviyhteisöt
korkeat kasvit
kookkaat lehdet
rehevöitymisdata
biodiversiteetin ennustaminen
ekosysteemiprosessit
ilmastonmuutos
ilmastonmuutokset
ilmastonmuutoksen hillitseminen
spatiaalisen heterogeenisyyden menetys
ihmisen vaikutus
nopea ilmastonmuutos
tutkimuksen vähyys
tutkimuksen vajaavaisuus
mallintaminen
koneoppiminen
koneoppimismetodit
lämpeneminen
bioottinen homogenisaatio
Rights: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


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