Skip to main content
Log in

Effects of temperature on performance and phenotypic selection on plant traits in alpine Ranunculus acris

  • Article
  • Published:
Oecologia Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Discovering temperature effects on the performance of tundra plants is important in the light of expected climate change. In this 4-year study on alpine Ranunculus acris, I test the hypothesis that temperature influences flowering phenology, reproductive success, growth, population dynamics, and phenotypic selection on quantitative traits, by experimental warming using open-top chambers (OTCs). Warming significantly advanced flowering phenology in only one season. Seed number and weight were significantly increased by warming during the first three seasons, but not in the fourth. Plants inside OTCs produced bigger leaves than control plants in the fourth season, but leaf number was unaffected by the OTC treatment. Despite increased seed number and weight, the density of flowering plants decreased inside OTCs compared to control plots, possibly because of a higher graminoid cover inside OTCs. Phenotypic-selection regression showed a significant selection differential and gradient in the direction of larger leaf sizes in control plants, whereas no selection on leaf size was detected on warmed plants. The direction and strength of selection on flowering time, flower number, and leaf number did not differ between control and warmed plants. The results suggest that increased reproductive output of R. acris may not be sufficient to maintain current population density under a denser vegetation cover.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Received: 1 December 1998 / Accepted: 14 April 1999

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Totland, Ø. Effects of temperature on performance and phenotypic selection on plant traits in alpine Ranunculus acris . Oecologia 120, 242–251 (1999).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: