Higher sensitivity of gross primary production than ecosystem respiration to experimental drought and warming across six European shrubland ecosystems

Li, Qiaoyan; Tietema, Albert; Reinsch, Sabine ORCID:; Schmidt, Inger Kappel; de Dato, Giovanbattista; Guidolotti, Gabriele; Lellei-Kovács, Eszter; Kopittke, Gillian; Larsen, Klaus Steenberg. 2023 Higher sensitivity of gross primary production than ecosystem respiration to experimental drought and warming across six European shrubland ecosystems. Science of The Total Environment, 900, 165627. 10, pp.

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Shrubland ecosystems across Europe face a range of threats including the potential impacts of climate change. Within the INCREASE project, six shrubland ecosystems along a European climatic gradient were exposed to ecosystem-level year-round experimental nighttime warming and long-term, repeated growing season droughts. We quantified the ecosystem level CO2 fluxes, i.e. gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (Reco) and net ecosystem exchange (NEE), in control and treatment plots and compared the treatment effects along the Gaussen aridity index. In general, GPP exhibited higher sensitivity to drought and warming than Reco and was found to be the dominant contributor to changes in overall NEE. Across the climate gradient, northern sites were more likely to have neutral to positive responses of NEE, i.e. increased CO2 uptake, to drought and warming partly due to seasonal rewetting. While an earlier investigation across the same sites showed a good cross-site relationship between soil respiration responses to climate over the Gaussen aridity index, the responses of GPP, Reco and NEE showed a more complex response pattern suggesting that site-specific ecosystem traits, such as different growing season periods and plant species composition, affected the overall response pattern of the ecosystem-level CO2 fluxes. We found that the observed response patterns of GPP and Reco rates at the six sites could be explained well by the hypothesized position of each site on site-specific soil moisture response curves of GPP/Reco fluxes. Such relatively simple, site-specific analyses could help improve our ability to explain observed CO2 flux patterns in larger meta-analyses as well as in larger-scale model upscaling exercises and thereby help improve our ability to project changes in ecosystem CO2 fluxes in response to future climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: shrubland, warming, drought, gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (Reco), net ecosystem exchange (NEE)
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 09 Nov 2023 10:51 +0 (UTC)

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