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Adaptive strategies in seedlings of three co-occurring, ecologically distinct northern coniferous tree species across an elevational gradient

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The inherent clinal responses of four quantitative traits thought to be adaptive for trees in cold-limited environments (i.e., height-growth cessation, growth rate, resource allocation to aboveground and belowground tissues, and resource allocation to photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic tissues in the shoot) were characterized under nonlimiting conditions in a controlled glasshouse study for seedlings of three ecologically distinct and co-occurring northern tree species (Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia Engelm. (lodgepole pine), Picea glauca (Moench) Voss × Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm. (interior spruce), and Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. (subalpine fir)). For each species, clinal trends were quantified among populations adapted to increasingly cold-limited climates across an elevation gradient approaching the tree line. In subalpine fir seedlings, strong clinal variation for all the quantitative traits indicated an increasingly conservative response to climate moving toward harsher conditions. Variation in lodgepole pine and interior spruce seedlings suggested a more plastic strategy, favoring competitive traits across a wide range of climate conditions. Study findings suggest that ecologically distinct species may exhibit different strategies in adapting to local climates.

Les réponses clinales inhérentes à quatre caractères quantitatifs que l'on pense être adaptatifs chez les arbres dans les milieux où le froid est un facteur limitant (c.-à-d., l'arrêt de la croissance en hauteur, le taux de croissance, l'allocation aux tissus aériens vs souterrains, l'allocation aux tissus photosynthétiques vs non photosynthétiques dans les pousses) ont été caractérisées sous des conditions non limitantes dans une étude en serre avec des semis de trois espèces nordiques, écologiquement distinctes et sympatriques (Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia Engelm. (pin tordu latifolié), Picea glauca (Moench) Voss × Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm. (épinette de l'intérieur) et Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. (sapin subalpin)). Pour chaque espèce, les tendances clinales ont été quantifiées dans des populations adaptées à un climat de plus en plus froid le long d'un gradient altitudinal atteignant presque la limite des arbres. Chez les semis de sapin subalpin, une forte variation clinale pour tous les caractères quantitatifs indiquait une réponse de plus en plus conservatrice à mesure que les conditions climatiques devenaient plus rudes. Chez les semis de pin tordu latifolié et d'épinette de l'intérieur, la variation suggérait une stratégie plus plastique, favorisant les caractères compétitifs à travers un grand éventail de conditions climatiques. Les résultats de l'étude suggèrent que les espèces écologiquement distinctes peuvent adopter différentes stratégies pour s'adapter au climat local.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-04-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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