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What role do plant-soil interactions play in the habitat suitability and potential range expansion of the alpine dwarf shrub Salix herbacea?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
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2014 (English)In: Basic and Applied Ecology, ISSN 1439-1791, E-ISSN 1618-0089, Vol. 15, no 4, 305-315 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Mountain plants may respond to warming climates by migrating along altitudinal gradients or, because climatic conditions on mountain slopes can be locally very heterogeneous, by migrating to different microhabitats at the same altitude. However, in new environments, plants may also encounter novel soil microbial communities, which might affect their establishment success. Thus, biotic interactions could be a key factor in plant responses to climate change. Here, we investigated the role of plant soil feedback for the establishment success of the alpine dwarf shrub Salix herbacea L. across altitudes and late- and early snowmelt microhabitats. We collected S. herbacea seeds and soil from nine plots on three mountain-slope transects near Davos, Switzerland, and we transplanted seeds and seedlings to substrate inoculated with soil from the same plot or with soils from different microhabitats, altitudes and mountains under greenhouse conditions. We found that, on average, seeds from higher altitudes (2400-2700 m) and late-exposed snowbeds germinated better than seeds from lower altitudes (2200-2300 m) and early-exposed ridges. However, despite these differences in germination, growth was generally higher for plants from low altitudes, and there were no indications for a an home-soil advantage within the current range of S. herbacea. Interestingly, seedlings growing on soil from above the current altitudinal distribution of S. herbacea grew on average less well than on their own soil. Thus, although the lack of a home-soil advantage in the current habitat might be beneficial for S. herbacea in a changing environment, migration to habitats beyond the current altitudinal range might be limited, probably due to missing positive soil-feedback.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 15, no 4, 305-315 p.
Keyword [en]
Biotic interaction, Range limit, Elevation, Genetic differentiation, Microhabitat, Microtopography, Migration, Snowmelt gradient, Soil feedback
National Category
Ecology Botany
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-231451DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2014.05.006ISI: 000340140900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-231451DiVA: diva2:745141
Available from: 2014-09-09 Created: 2014-09-08 Last updated: 2014-09-09Bibliographically approved

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Cortes, Andres J.
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