Environmental signals from leaves – a physiognomic analysis of European vegetation

Authors

  • Christopher Traiser,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut für Geowissenschaften, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstrasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany;
      Author for correspondence: Christopher Traiser Tel: +49 7071 29 73560 Fax: +49 7071 29 5217 Email: christopher.traiser@uni-tuebingen.de
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  • Stefan Klotz,

    1. Institut für Geowissenschaften, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstrasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany;
    2. Laboratoire PaléoEnvironnements et PaléobioSphère (UMR 5125), Université Cl.Bernard – Lyon 1, 27–43 boulevard du 11 Novembre, F 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France
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  • Dieter Uhl,

    1. Institut für Geowissenschaften, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstrasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany;
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  • Volker Mosbrugger

    1. Institut für Geowissenschaften, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstrasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany;
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Author for correspondence: Christopher Traiser Tel: +49 7071 29 73560 Fax: +49 7071 29 5217 Email: christopher.traiser@uni-tuebingen.de

Summary

  • • Leaf physiognomic traits vary predictably along climatic and environmental gradients. The relationships between leaf physiognomy and climate have been investigated on different continents, but so far an investigation based on European vegetation has been missing.
  • • A grid data set (0.5 ¥ 0.5 latitude/longitude) has been compiled in order to determine spatial patterns of leaf physiognomy across Europe. Based on distribution maps of native European hardwoods, synthetic chorologic flora lists were compiled for all grid cells. Every synthetic chorologic flora was characterised by 25 leaf physiognomic traits and correlated with 16 climatic parameters.
  • • Clear spatial patterns of leaf physiognomy have been observed, which are statistically significant related to certain, temperature-related climate parameters. Transfer functions for several climatic parameters have been established, based on the observed relationships.
  • • The study provides evidence that synthetically generated floras represent a powerful tool for analysing spatial patterns of leaf physiognomy and their relationships to climate. The transfer functions from the European data set indicate slightly different relationships of leaf physiognomy and environment compared with results obtained from other continents.

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