Global warming reduces plant reproductive output for temperate multi-inflorescence species on the Tibetan plateau
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust
Volume 195, Issue 2, pages 427–436, July 2012
How to Cite
Liu, Y., Mu, J., Niklas, K. J., Li, G. and Sun, S. (2012), Global warming reduces plant reproductive output for temperate multi-inflorescence species on the Tibetan plateau. New Phytologist, 195: 427–436. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04178.x
- Issue published online: 15 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012
- Received: 1 February 2012, Accepted: 10 April 2012
- alpine meadow;
- determinate and indeterminate growth;
- flower number;
- fruit number;
- global warming;
- reproductive effort;
- seed size and number;
- single- and multi-inflorescence species
- •Temperature is projected to increase more during the winter than during the summer in cold regions. The effects of winter warming on reproductive effort have not been examined for temperate plant species.
- •Here, we report the results of experimentally induced seasonal winter warming (0.4 and 2.4°C increases in growing and nongrowing seasons, respectively, using warmed and ambient open-top chambers in a Tibetan Plateau alpine meadow) for nine indeterminate-growing species producing multiple (single-flowered or multi-flowered) inflorescences and three determinate-growing species producing single inflorescences after a 3-yr period of warming.
- •Warming reduced significantly flower number and seed production per plant for all nine multi-inflorescence species, but not for the three single-inflorescence species. Warming had an insignificant effect on the fruit to flower number ratio, seed size and seed number per fruit among species. The reduction in seed production was largely attributable to the decline in flower number per plant. The flowering onset time was unaffected for nine of the 12 species. Therefore, the decline in flower production and seed production in response to winter warming probably reflects a physiological response (e.g. metabolic changes associated with flower production).
- •Collectively, the data indicate that global warming may reduce flower and seed production for temperate herbaceous species and will probably have a differential effect on single- vs multi-inflorescence species.