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Plant evolutionary history mainly explains the variance in biomass responses to climate warming at a global scale
journal contributionposted on 05.09.2019, 00:00 by J Shao, T Yuan, Z Li, N Li, H Liu, Shahla Hosseini BaiShahla Hosseini Bai, J Xia, M Lu, X Zhou
Evolutionary history shapes the interspecific relatedness and intraspecific variation, which has a profound influence on plant functional traits and productivity. However, it is far from clear how the phylogenetic relatedness among species and intraspecific variation could contribute to the observed variance in plant biomass responses to climate warming. We compiled a dataset with 284 species from warming experiments to explore the relative importance of phylogenetic, intraspecific, experimental and ecological factors to warming effects on plant biomass, using phylogenetic eigenvector regression and variance decomposition. Our results showed that phylogenetic relatedness could account for about half the total variance in biomass responses to warming, which were correlated with leaf economic traits at the family but not species levels. The intraspecific variation contributed to approximately one‐third of the variance, while the experimental design and ecological characteristics only explained 7–17%. These results suggest that intrinsic factors (evolutionary history) play more important roles than extrinsic factors (experimental treatment and environment) in determining the responses of plant biomass to warming at the global scale. This highlights the urgent need for land surface models to include evolutionary aspects in predicting ecosystem functions under climate change.