Immediate and lag effects of hydrological change on floodplain grassland plants

Abstract

Hydrological alteration due to climate change events such as floods and drought is a significant threat to globally important wetlands, including floodplain wet grasslands. This research incorporated two field experiments with the aim to assess immediate and longer-term functional responses of floodplain plants to hydrological change. Plant introductions and transplants between a wetter riparian and a drier site in southern England were used to simulate hydrological change. Species showed immediate and differential responses to contrasting hydrologies. Rhinanthus minor, a hemi-parasitic annual species with ruderal traits, was lost from the riparian grassland within four weeks. The survival and production of a leguminous perennial, Lathyrus pratensis, in high groundwater levels soon decreased. However, the perennial Primula veris mostly functioned well in contrasting hydrological regimes, possibly because it can tolerate stress. The perennial wetland species Caltha palustris showed lag effects, over three years, when its hydrology was altered to a sub-optimal drier scenario by transplantation, with declining survival and a sustained reduction in leaf production and flowering. Disturbance caused by transplantation and weather conditions also affected its performance. Thus, this study shows that some functionally important floodplain species may succumb within weeks to a hydrological event facilitated by climate change, unless they are able to tolerate the challenging conditions, while the performance of other characteristic species could decline and continue to show constrained performance for years as a consequence of altered hydrology.

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

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Ågren J, Schemske DW (2012) Reciprocal transplants demonstrate strong adaptive differentiation of the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana in its native range. New Phytol 194:1112–1122

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Ahmed S, Nawata E, Sakuratani T (2002) Effects of waterlogging at vegetative and reporoductive growth stages on photosynthesis, leaf water potential and yield in mungbean. Plant Prod Sci 5:117–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Armstrong W, Brändle R, Jackson MB (1994) Mechanisms of flood tolerance in plants. Acta Bot Neerl 43:307–358

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Bailey-Serres J, Voesenek LACJ (2008) Flooding stress: acclimations and genetic diversity. Annu Rev Plant Biol 59:313–339

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Bowman G, Perret C, Hoehn S, Galeuchet D, Fischer M (2008) Habitat fragmentation and adaptation: a reciprocal replant–transplant experiment among 15 populations of Lychnis flos-cuculi. J Ecol 96:1056–1064

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Brotherton SJ, Joyce CB (2015) Extreme climate events and wet grasslands: plant traits for ecological resilience. Hydrobiologia 750:229–243

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Brys R, Jacquemyn H (2009) Biological flora of the British Isles: Primula veris L. J Ecol 97:581–600

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Colmer TD, Voesenek LACJ (2009) Flooding tolerance: suites of plant traits in variable environments. Funct Plant Biol 36:665–681

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Crawford RM, Jeffree CE, Rees WG (2003) Paludification and forest retreat in northern oceanic environments. Ann Bot-London 91:213–226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Durant D, Tichit M, Fritz H, Kernéïs E (2008) Field occupancy by breeding lapwings Vanellus vanellus and redshanks Tringa totanus in agricultural wet grasslands. Agric Ecosyst Environ 128:146–150

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Garssen AG, Verhoeven JTA, Soons MB (2014) Effects of climate-induced increases in summer drought on riparian plant species: a meta-analysis. Freshwater Biol 59:1052–1063

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Garssen AG, Baattrup-Pedersen A, Voesenek LACJ, Verhoeven JTA, Soons MB (2015) Riparian plant community responses to increased flooding: a meta-analysis. Glob Change Biol 21:2881–2890

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gibberd MR, Gray JD, Cocks PS, Colmer TD (2001) Waterlogging tolerance among a diverse range of Trifolium accessions is related to root porosity, lateral root formation and ‘aerotropic rooting’. Ann Bot-Lond 88:579–589

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Grime JP (1977) Evidence for the existence of three primary strategies in plants and its relevance to ecological and evolutionary theory. Am Nat 111:1169–1194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Grootjans AP, Fresco LFM, de Leeuw CC, Schipper PC (1996) Degeneration of species-rich Calthion palustris hay meadows; some considerations on the community concept. J Veg Sci 7:185–194

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Herrera-Pantoja M, Hiscock KM, Boar RR (2012) The potential impact of climate change on groundwater-fed wetlands in eastern England. Ecohydrology 5:401–413

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hill MO, Preston CD, Roy DB (2004) PLANTATT. Attributes of British and Irish plants: status, size, life history, geography and habitats. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Monks Wood

    Google Scholar 

  18. Hill MO, Mountford JO, Roy DB, Bunce RHB (1999) Ellenberg’s indicator values for British plants, ECOFACT Volume 2, technical annex. Institute of terrestrial ecology (and DETR), Huntingdon

  19. Ilg C, Dziock F, Foeckler F, Follner K, Gerisch M, Glaeser J, Rink A, Schanowski A, Scholz M, Deichner O, Henle K (2008) Long-term reactions of plants and macroinvertebrates to extreme floods in floodplain grasslands. Ecology 89:2392–2398

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. IPCC (2012) Summary for Policymakers. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF, Qin D, Dokken DJ, Ebi KL, Mastrandrea MD, Mach KJ, Plattner G-K, Allen SK, Tignor M, Midgley PM (eds) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. A special report of working groups I and II of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

  21. Jentsch A, Kreyling J, Boettcher-Treschkow J, Beierkuhnlein C (2009) Beyond gradual warming: extreme weather events alter flower phenology of European grassland and heath species. Glob Change Biol 15:837–849

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Jolly WM, Dobbertin M, Zimmermann NE, Reichstein M (2005G) Divergent vegetation growth responses to the 2003 heat wave in the Swiss Alps. Geophys Res Lett. https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GL023252

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Joshi J, Schmid B, Caldeira MC, Dimitrakopoulos PG, Good J, Harris R, Hector A, Huss-Danell K, Jumpponen A, Minns A, Mulder CPH, Pereira JS, Prinz A, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Siamantziouras A-SD, Terry AC, Troumbis AY, Lawton JH (2001) Local adaptation enhances performance of common plant species. Ecol Lett 4:536–544

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Joyce CB, Simpson M, Casanova M (2016) Future wet grasslands: ecological implications of climate change. Ecosyst Health Sustain 2:1–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kirkham FW, Wilkins RJ (1994) The productivity and response to inorganic fertilizers of species-rich wetland haymeadows on the Somerset Moors: the effect of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium on herbage production. Grass Forage Sci 49:163–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kreyling J, Wenigmann M, Beierkuhnlein C, Jentsch A (2008) Effects of extreme weather events on plant productivity and tissue die-back are modified by community composition. Ecosystems 11:752–763

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kreyling J, Jentsch A, Beier C (2014) Beyond realism in climate change experiments: gradient approaches identify thresholds and tipping points. Ecol Lett 17:125–e1

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Lee MA (2018) A global comparison of the nutritive values of forage plants grown in contrasting environments. J Plant Res 131:641–654

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  29. Ludewig K, Korell L, Löffler F, Mosner E, Scholz M, Jensen K (2014) Vegetation patterns of floodplain meadows along the climatic gradient at the Middle Elbe River. Flora 209:446–455

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Met Office (2019) Year ordered statistics. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/datasets. Accessed Jan 2019

  31. National Soil Resources Institute (2013) Academic Soils Site Report for location 502900E, 114019N, 1km × 1km. National Soil Resources Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield. https://www.landis.org.uk/sitereporter/

    Google Scholar 

  32. Newbold C, Mountford JO (1997) Water level requirements of wetland plants and animals. English Nature, Peterborough

    Google Scholar 

  33. Nooten SS, Hughes L (2017) The power of the transplant: direct assessment of climate change impacts. Clim Change 144:237–255

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. O’Hara RB, Kotze DJ (2010) Do not log-transform count data. Methods Ecol Evol 1:118–122

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Oddershede A, Violle C, Baattrup-Pedersen A, Svenning J-C, Damgaard C (2018) Early dynamics in plant community trait responses to a novel, more extreme hydrological gradient. J Plant Ecol. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rty028

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Primpas I, Karydis M (2010) Improving statistical distinctness in assessing trophic levels: the development of simulated normal distributions. Environ Monit Assess 169:353–365

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Raabová J, Munzbergova Z, Fischer M (2007) Ecological rather than geographic or genetic distance affects local adaptation of the rare perennial herb, Aster amellus. Biol Conserv 139:348–357

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Rich JT, Neely JG, Paniello RC, Voelker CCJ, Nussenbaum B, Wang EW (2010) A practical guide to understanding Kaplan-Meier curves. Otolaryng Head Neck 143:331–336

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Saavedra F, Inouye DW, Price MV, Harte J (2003) Changes in flowering and abundance of Delphinium nuttallianum (Ranunculaceae) in response to a subalpine climate warming experiment. Glob Change Biol 9:885–894

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Seel WE, Jeschke WD (1999) Simultaneous collection of xylem sap from Rhinanthus minor and the hosts Hordeum and Trifolium: hydraulic properties, xylem sap composition and effects of attachment. New Phytol 143:281–298

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  41. Semenchuk PR, Elberling B, Cooper EJ (2013) Snow cover and extreme winter warming events control flower abundance of some, but not all species in high arctic Svalbard. Ecol Evol 3:2586–2599

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  42. Sherry RA, Zhou X, Gu S, Arnone JA, Schimel DS, Verburg PS, Wallace LL, Luo Y (2007) Divergence of reproductive phenology under climate warming. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:198–202

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Sherry RA, Zhou X, Gu S, Arnone JA, Johnson DW, Schimel DS, Verburg PSJ, Wallace LL, Luo Y (2011) Changes in duration of reproductive phases and lagged phenological response to experimental climate warming. Plant Ecol Divers 4:23–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Silvertown J, Dodd ME, Gowing DJG, Mountford JO (1999) Hydrologically defined niches reveal a basis for species richness in plant communities. Nature 400:61–63

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. Smirnoff N, Crawford RM (1983) Variation in the structure and response to flooding of root aerenchyma in some wetland plants. Ann Bot-Lond 51:237–249

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Smith M (2011) An ecological perspective on extreme climatic events: a synthetic definition and framework to guide future research. J Ecol 99:656–663

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Thompson JR, Gavin H, Refsgaard A, Refstrup Sørenson H, Gowing DJ (2009) Modelling the hydrological impacts of climate change on UK lowland wet grassland. Wetl Ecol Manag 17:503–523

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Thompson RM, Beardall J, Beringer J, Grace M, Sardina P (2013) Means and extremes: building variability into community-level climate change experiments. Ecol Lett 16:799–806

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Tito R, Castellani TT, Fáveri SB, Lopes BC, Vasconcelos HL (2016) From over to undercompensation: variable responses to herbivory during ontogeny of a Neotropical monocarpic plant. Biotropica 48:608–617

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Toogood SE, Joyce CB (2009) Effects of raised water levels on wet grassland plant communities. Appl Veg Sci 12:283–294

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Toogood SE, Joyce CB, Waite S (2008) Response of floodplain grassland plant communities to altered water regimes. Plant Ecol 197:285–298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Van Eck WHJM, Lenssen JP, van de Steeg HM, Blom CWPM, de Kroon H (2006) Seasonal dependent effects of flooding on plant species survival and zonation: a comparative study of 10 terrestrial grassland species. Hydrobiologia 565:59–69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Vervuren PJA, Blom WPM, de Kroon H (2003) Extreme flooding events on the Rhine and the survival and distribution of riparian plant species. J Ecol 91:135–146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Westbury DB (2004) Biological flora of the British Isles: Rhinanthus minor L. J Ecol 92:906–927

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Whale DM (1984) Habitat requirements in Primula species. New Phytol 97:665–679

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Wright AJ, de Kroon H, Visser EJW, Buchmann T, Ebeling A, Eisenhauer N, Fischer C, Hildebrandt A, Ravenek J, Roscher C, Weigelt A, Weisser W, Voesenek LACJ, Liesje M (2016) Plants are less negatively affected by flooding when growing in species-rich plant communities. New Phytol 213:645–656

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. Xu M, Ma H, Zeng L, Cheng Y, Lu G, Xu J, Zhang X, Zou X (2015) The effects of waterlogging on the yield and seed quality at the early flowering stage in Brassica napus L. Field Crop Res 180:238–245

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Zedler JB, Kercher S (2005) Wetland resources: status, trends, ecosystem services, and restorability. Annu Rev Env Resour 30:39–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr Magda Grove and Christine Sinclair for support in the field. The project was funded by the School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chris B. Joyce.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Communicated by Anna R. Armitage.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brotherton, S.J., Joyce, C.B., Berg, M.J. et al. Immediate and lag effects of hydrological change on floodplain grassland plants. Plant Ecol 220, 345–359 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-019-00918-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Flowering
  • Plant traits
  • Production
  • Survival
  • Wetlands