||Evolutionary responses to land use in eight common grassland plants
||Völler, E.; Bossdorf, O.; Prati, D.; Auge, H.
|Journal / Serie
||Journal of Ecology
||fertilization; genetic differentiation; grazing; land-use intensification; mowing; rapid evolution
change is an important component of global environmental change and a
major driver of current declines in biodiversity. Although there is
increasing evidence that species can evolve rapidly in response to
anthropogenic environmental change, comprehensive studies of the
evolutionary consequences of land use are still fairly scarce, in
particular such that consider multiple species, study many populations,
or that discriminate between different aspects of land use.
we studied genetic change of key phenotypic traits in response to land
use in eight common grassland species across 137 grassland sites
covering a broad range of land-use types (mowing and/or grazing, with or
without fertilization) and intensities in three regions of Germany.
common garden study revealed significant genetic differentiation in
response to land-use intensification within all of the investigated
species. Among the studied land-use processes, mowing appeared to have
the strongest effect on the differentiation of plant phenotypes, with
flowering phenology as the most responsive trait. However, there was
substantial variation among species in the magnitude, sometimes also the
direction of the observed population differentiation.
Our study demonstrates that evolutionary responses of grassland plants
to land-use change are a common phenomenon and widespread across a broad
range of different species. These evolutionary changes are likely to
impact biotic interactions, as well as the structure and functioning of
communities and ecosystems.
|Völler, E., Bossdorf, O., Prati, D., Auge, H. (2017):
Evolutionary responses to land use in eight common grassland plants
J. Ecol. 105 (5), 1290 - 1297