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Combined effect of elevated UVB, elevated temperature and fertilization on growth, needle structure and phytochemistry of young Norway spruce (Picea abies) seedlings



Simultaneously with warming climate, other climatic and environmental factors are also changing. Here, we investigated for the first time the effects of elevated temperature, increased ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation, fertilization and all combinations of these on the growth, secondary chemistry and needle structure of 1-year-old Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) seedlings in an outdoor experiment. After one growing season, elevated temperature increased root : shoot ratio and concentrations of needle piperidine alkaloids, while concentrations of needle catechins and acetophenones and bark flavonoids decreased compared with ambient temperature seedlings. UVB-radiation increased concentrations of bark condensed tannins, while fertilization increased total biomass and concentrations of needle catechins. In addition to the main effects, concentrations of some individual phenolic compounds showed UV × temperature or UV × temperature × fertilization interactions, and fertilization modified temperature response on root : shoot ratio. All the treatments described here affected the defence chemistry profiles of the seedlings, which may imply some changes in plant-herbivore interactions in connection with changing climate. The interactions between treatments indicate a need for further experiments involving several simultaneously affecting environmental changes.

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