Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (10): 1028-1036.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0068

Special Issue: 全球变化与生态系统 生态学研究的方法和技术 青藏高原植物生态学:种群生态学

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Effects of experimental warming on plant reproductive phenology in Xizang alpine meadow

Jun-Tao ZHU*   

  1. Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Online:2016-10-10 Published:2016-11-02
  • Contact: Jun-Tao ZHU


Aims Climate warming strongly influences reproductive phenology of plants in alpine and arctic ecosystems. Here we focus on phenological shifts caused by warming in a typical alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Our objective was to explore phenological responses of alpine plant species to experimental warming. Methods Passive warming was achieved using open-top chambers (OTCs). The treatments included control (C), and four levels of warming (T1, T2, T3, T4). We selected Kobresia pygmaea, Potentilla saundersiana, Potentilla cuneata, Stipa purpurea, Festuca coelestis and Youngia simulatrix as the focal species. Plant phenology was scored every 3-5 days in the growing season. The reproductive phenology phases of each species were estimated through fitting the phenological scores to the Richards function. Important findings Under soil water stress caused by warming, most plants in the alpine meadow advanced or delayed their reproductive events. As a result, warming significantly delayed phenological development of K. pygmaea. Warming significantly advanced reproductive phenology of P. saundersiana, S. purpurea and F. coelestis, but not of P. cuneata and Y. simulatrix. In addition, warming significantly shortened the average flowering duration of alpine plant species. The potentially warmer and drier growing seasons under climate change may shift the reproductive phenology of the alpine systems in similar pattern.

Key words: alpine meadow, experimental warming, phenological shifts, reproductive phenology, Qinghai-Xizang Plateau