Root traits are more than analogues of leaf traits: the case for diaspore mass

Bergmann, Joana; Ryo, Masahiro; Prati, Daniel; Hempel, Stefan; Rillig, Matthias C. (2017). Root traits are more than analogues of leaf traits: the case for diaspore mass. New Phytologist, 216(4), pp. 1130-1139. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/nph.14748

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Root traits are often thought to be analogues of leaf traits along the plant economics spectrum. But evolutionary pressures have most likely shaped above- and belowground patterns differentially. Here, we aimed to identify the most important aboveground traits for explaining root traits without an a priori focus on known concepts. We measured morphological root traits in a glasshouse experiment on 141 common Central European grassland species. Using random forest algorithms, we built predictive models of six root traits from 97 aboveground morphological, ecological and life history traits. Root tissue density was best predicted by leaf dry matter content, whereas traits related to root fineness were best predicted by diaspore mass: the heavier the diaspore, the coarser the root system. Specific leaf area (SLA) was not an important predictor for any of the root traits. This study confirms the hypothesis that root traits are more than analogues of leaf traits within a plant economics spectrum. The results reveal a novel ecological pattern and highlight the power of root data to close important knowledge gaps in trait-based ecology.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Prati, Daniel

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0028-646X

Publisher:

Wiley-Blackwell

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

07 Nov 2017 15:33

Last Modified:

07 Nov 2017 15:33

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/nph.14748

PubMed ID:

28895147

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.105459

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/105459

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