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A comparative study of leaf trait relationships in coastal dunes in southern Spain
Rodriguez-Gallego, C; Navarro, T; Meerts, P. (2015). A comparative study of leaf trait relationships in coastal dunes in southern Spain. Plant Ecol. Evol. 148(1): 57-67. dx.doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.2015.951
In: Plant Ecology and Evolution. Nationale Plantentuin van België: Meise. ISSN 2032-3913, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 271911 [ OMA ]

Author keywords
    Mediterranean coastal dunes; specific leaf area; leaf nutrientconcentrations; leaf consistence; deciduousness

Authors  Top 
  • Rodriguez-Gallego, C
  • Navarro, T
  • Meerts, P.

Abstract
    Background and aims - Coastal dunes of southern Spain are an original Mediterranean ecosystem, hotspot of biodiversity, insufficiently studied under the functional ecology. We explore co-variation patterns among leaf traits (size, specific leaf area (SLA), nutrient concentrations (N, P, K...), deciduousness and leaf consistence), and growth form in 78 native coastal dune species. Methods - Three coastal dunes of contrasting climatic conditions were sampled and differentiated between fixed and mobile dunes. Species were classified based on growth form, deciduousness and leaf consistence. Leaf samples were collected following Cornelissen et al. (2003) and soil samples were also analysed by ICP-OES and elemental analysis. Key results - Positive co-variation patterns of SLA and leaf [N], and of leaf [N] and leaf [P], were found in two of three sites. Fixed dunes, with a higher proportion of large shrubs, evergreens, and sclerophyllous species, had lower values of SLA and foliar nutrients, and higher values of [C] than mobile dunes. The topsoil of fixed dunes had less [Ca] than in mobile dunes and this was reflected in foliar concentrations. The Mediterranean-subdesert dunes, had a distinct pattern of trait variation. Conclusion - Mediterranean-subdesert coastal dunes are characterized by lower values of leaf [N] and higher values of leaf [Ca] and [Fe] than in other Mediterranean ecosystems and by a broad correlation among SLA, leaf [N], [P] and [K]. Mediterranean-subdesert dunes showed a predominance of xerophytic malacophyllous strategy, whereas Mediterranean -oceanic dunes are dominated by stress tolerant species. Mobile dunes showed a leaf strategy closer to the observed on Mediterranean -subdesert dunes but with a relevantly higher leaf [Ca].

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