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A Meta-analysis of the Effects of Experimental Warming on Plant Physiology and Growth on the Tibetan Plateau

Abstract

Uncertainties about the response of plant photosynthesis and growth to elevated temperature make it difficult to predict how plant production will vary under future climatic warming in alpine regions. Here, we used a meta-analysis approach to synthesize 272 observations from 27 studies on the Tibetan Plateau. Warming significantly increased aboveground biomass by 19.1 % (95 % CI 6.0–40.7 %), belowground biomass by 26.7 % (95 % CI 3.0–87.5 %), and net photosynthetic rate (P n) by 13.6 % (95 % CI 9.7–17.7 %). The increase of P n was attributed to the increases in stomatal conductance, apparent quantum yield, chlorophyll content, non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence, soluble sugar, and peroxidase. A decoupling of plant photosynthesis and leaf N concentration occurred. Our findings imply that global warming may have a stronger effect on the alpine plants on the Tibetan Plateau than the global average. Our findings provided a better understanding of the physiological responses of alpine plants to future climatic warming.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41171084), Chinese Academy of Science Western Light Talents Program (Name. Response of livestock carrying capability to climatic change and grazing in the alpine meadow of Northern Tibetan Plateau), and the Natural Science Foundation of Tibet Autonomous Region (Name. Response of species richness and above-ground biomass to warming in the alpine meadow of Tibet).

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Correspondence to Gang Fu.

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Fu, G., Shen, ZX., Sun, W. et al. A Meta-analysis of the Effects of Experimental Warming on Plant Physiology and Growth on the Tibetan Plateau. J Plant Growth Regul 34, 57–65 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-014-9442-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-014-9442-0

Keywords

  • Antioxidant defense
  • Global warming
  • Meta-analysis
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant physiology and growth
  • Response ratio
  • Tibetan Plateau