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Combined enhancements of temperature and UVB influence growth and phenolics in clones of the sexually dimorphic Salix myrsinifolia




Although several climatic factors are expected to change simultaneously in the future, the effect of such combined changes on plants have seldom been tested under field conditions. We report on a field experiment with dark-leaved willow, Salix myrsinifolia, subjected to enhancements in ultraviolet-A (UVA), UVB radiation and temperature, setup in Joensuu, Eastern Finland. S. myrsinifolia is a dioecious species, known as an important food plant for many herbivores. Cuttings of eight clones, four of each sex, of dark-leaved willow were planted in the field in spring 2009. In both 2009 and 2010, the total biomass increased significantly with temperature, and in 2010 there was an additive effect of UVB radiation. Both height and diameter increased with temperature in 2009, while the effect on height growth ceased in 2010. Males had greater diameter growth than females in 2010. Most phenolic compounds in the leaves decreased under enhanced temperature in both growing seasons. In 2010, four of six salicylates increased in response to enhanced temperature. Some quercetin derivatives increased under enhanced UVB radiation. Females had higher concentrations of chlorogenic acids than males, and while enhanced temperature reduced chlorogenic acid in females only, luteolins were reduced only in males. In summary, the combined enhancements gave no effects in addition to those that appeared under the single-factor treatments, except for the additive effect of UVB on temperature-increased biomass. The few gender-related differences found in response to climate change do not allow any marked expectations of future climate-induced changes in sex ratios.