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1. Sun, Shanwen. Comparative drought resistance of temperate grassland species : mechanisms, prediction and relation to species distribution across moisture gradients.

Degree: PhD, BayNAT, 2019, Universität Bayreuth

Grasslands are important ecosystems worldwide, exhibiting high biodiversity and providing important ecosystem services. In Europe, they occupy more than one-third of the total agricultural land area. However, grasslands experience periodical drought during the growing season, which reduces their productivity, influences species abundance and distribution, and leads to changes in grassland functions. Climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of drought and thus intensify the impacts of drought on grasslands. To improve our ability to predict the consequences of these changes on grasslands, thorough understandings of species responses to drought, of the traits governing drought responses, and of how they affect community assembly and ecosystem function are imperative. However, lacking comparative datasets on whole-plant drought resistance and comprehensive sets of traits across grassland species currently impedes our understanding of the role of drought under past and current climate regimes, and our projections for the future. To cover the gaps, in this thesis we comparatively assessed whole-plant drought resistance and an extensive suite of traits. To our knowledge, these are the first comparative datasets across multiple grassland species. With them, we aimed to address the following questions: (1) Do species drought responses vary across species? (2) Do performance trade-offs exist at the whole-plant and trait levels? (3) Are whole-plant drought resistance and traits related to species distribution along moisture gradients? (4) What is the mechanism of drought resistance? (5) Which traits can be used to predict drought resistance? Whole-plant drought resistance was assessed for 41 common temperate grassland species including 20 forbs and 21 grasses in a common garden drought experiment. The experimental design allowed us to comparatively assess the effects of drought on performances of individual species by only inducing delines in soil water potentials while minimizing effects of other cofounding abiotic and biotic factors that influence plant performances. Additionally, midday leaf water potential under drought was measured to indicate species efficiency of desiccation avoidance. Further, we assessed 38 morphological, anatomical and physiological traits. All traits are hypothesized to be mechanistically related to drought resistance, including ‘hard’ traits that pertain to plant key processes, i.e., water uptake, water storage, water transport, water loss, membrane vulnerability, and carbon gain. We found that drought significantly reduced species survival and growth, while its effects varied significantly across species. The ranks of species performances remained consistent across drought periods. Many species showed high drought resistance, and a few may suffer greatly under drought. Forbs and grasses had similar whole-plant drought resistance, while they were divergent along trait axes. Performance trade-offs were not supported. At whole-plant level, growth under irrigated… Advisors/Committee Members: Engelbrecht, Bettina (advisor).

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APA (6th Edition):

Sun, S. (2019). Comparative drought resistance of temperate grassland species : mechanisms, prediction and relation to species distribution across moisture gradients. (Doctoral Dissertation). Universität Bayreuth. Retrieved from https://epub.uni-bayreuth.de/4322/; 10.15495/EPub_UBT_00004322

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Sun, Shanwen. “Comparative drought resistance of temperate grassland species : mechanisms, prediction and relation to species distribution across moisture gradients.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, Universität Bayreuth. Accessed May 25, 2019. https://epub.uni-bayreuth.de/4322/; 10.15495/EPub_UBT_00004322.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Sun, Shanwen. “Comparative drought resistance of temperate grassland species : mechanisms, prediction and relation to species distribution across moisture gradients.” 2019. Web. 25 May 2019.

Vancouver:

Sun S. Comparative drought resistance of temperate grassland species : mechanisms, prediction and relation to species distribution across moisture gradients. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Universität Bayreuth; 2019. [cited 2019 May 25]. Available from: https://epub.uni-bayreuth.de/4322/; 10.15495/EPub_UBT_00004322.

Council of Science Editors:

Sun S. Comparative drought resistance of temperate grassland species : mechanisms, prediction and relation to species distribution across moisture gradients. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Universität Bayreuth; 2019. Available from: https://epub.uni-bayreuth.de/4322/; 10.15495/EPub_UBT_00004322

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