Exsertion, elongation, and senescence of leaves of Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex bigelowii in Northern Alaska

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TitleExsertion, elongation, and senescence of leaves of Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex bigelowii in Northern Alaska
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsShaver, GR, Laundre, JA
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume3
IssueS1
Pagination146-157
Accession NumberARC293
KeywordsCarex bigelowii D 04636 Grasses
Abstract

The seasonal patterns of leaf exsertion, elongation, and senescence were described and compared for two of the most abundant graminoid species of Alaskan moist tussock tundra, Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex bigelowii. In addition the responses of both species to NPK fertilizer and to variation in site fertility (water track vs. non-track areas) were also assayed and compared. The research was done over two full growing seasons at two sites near Toolik Lake, Alaska, where other aspects of the ecology of both species have been the subject of intensive and ongoing research. Both species showed the typical graminoid pattern of sequential leaf growth, in which the exsertion and elongation of new leaves is coincident with the senescence of old leaves. However, the rates of these processes were much slower and steadier in Eriophorum than in Carex, with much greater overlap in the life histories of individual leaf cohorts. The total and green leaf lengths of whole tillers in Eriophorum were also less variable over the entire year than in Carex. The conclusion is that leaf growth in Carex should depend more on external storage of carbon and nutrients than Eriophorum, with a much greater seasonal variation in demands on storage and retranslocation to and from leaves. The effects of fertilizer and the water track on leaf growth dynamics and turnover rates were largely nonsignificant, despite major effects on total tiller size and productivity. This is in contrast to previous research on evergreen leaf dynamics, but similar to results of previous research on overall production and biomass regulation in Eriophorum. It is concluded that the graminoid response to increased nutrient availability in the Arctic is to dilute the greater amounts of nutrient uptake by greater growth, so that nearly the same metabolic homeostasis is achieved as under low nutrient availability, but at a higher biomass.

DOI10.1111/j.1365-2486.1997.gcb141.x
Short TitleExsertion, elongation, and senescence of leaves of Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex bigelowii in Northern Alaska