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Variation in leaf structural and chemical traits in Mediterranean woody plant species

AutorRiva, E. G. de la; Pérez-Ramos, Ignacio Manuel ; Marañón, Teodoro ; Villar Montero, Rafael
Fecha de publicación31-ene-2017
EditorAsociación Española de Ecología Terrestre
CitaciónXIV MEDECOS & XIII AEET meeting. Human driven scenarios for evolutionary and ecological changes. 31 enero -4 febrero, Sevilla, Spain. (2017)
ResumenLeaf structural and chemical traits are key attributes of plant growth ability, resource use efficiency and nutrient cycling. On this respect, the variation of foliar structure and chemical composition can be determined by different factors such as habitat type, growth form and evolutionary history. In this study, we evaluated how habitat association, leaf habit and phylogeny affected foliar structure and nutrient concentrations in 98 Mediterranean woody species growing in five types of forests and shrublands from South Spain. Our aim is to provide key aspects of leaf structure and nutrient composition in a highly diverse pool of woody plants on Mediterranean ecosystems, based on field data set. To this end, w We explored the spectrum of variation of one important leaf trait (leaf mass per area “LMA”) and its relationships with twelve leaf nutrients (N, C, P, B, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, S, Zn), and the stoichiometry of N:nutrient. Our results provided solid evidences that the overall foliar elemental composition and structure was conditioned by forest type, leaf habit and phylogeny. The results supported the existence of a leaf biochemical niche; originated by species specialization and evolutionary processes leading to adaptations to environmental conditions. Leaf trait distribution supported the general existence of the “leaf economic spectrum” in Mediterranean woody species for a broad number of leaf chemical and structural traits. In addition, our analyses showed that these leaf traits were highly coordinated, supporting thus the fundamental convergence in leaf formation and functioning
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