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American journal of botany

Decoupled leaf and root carbon economics is a key component in the ecological diversity and evolutionary divergence of deciduous and evergreen lineages of genus


PMID 28611072

Abstract

We explored trait-trait and trait-climate relationships for 27 We examined specific leaf area (SLA) and four root traits: specific root length (SRL), specific root tip abundance (SRTA), first order diameter, and link average length, for plants growing in a cold, seasonal climate (Kirtland, Ohio) and a warmer, less seasonal climate (Federal Way, Washington) in the United States. We estimated a phylogeny and species' climate of origin, determined phylogenetic signal on mean traits and within-species variation, and used phylogenetically informed analysis to compare trait-trait and trait-climate relationships for deciduous and evergreen lineages. Mean SLA and within-species variation in SRL were more similar between close relatives than expected by chance. SLA and root traits differed according to climate of origin and across growth environments, though SLA differed within- and among-species less than roots. A negative SRL-SRTA correlation indicates investment in foraging scale vs. precision as a fundamental trade-off defining the root economic spectrum. Also, the deciduous clade exhibited a strong negative relationship between SLA and SRL, while evergreen clades showed a weaker positive or no relationship. Our work suggests that natural selection has shaped relationships between above- and belowground traits in genus

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