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Kreyling J.,University of Bayreuth | Thiel D.,University of Bayreuth | Nagy L.,University of Bayreuth | Jentsch A.,University of Bayreuth | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2012

Fagus sylvatica, the dominant native forest tree species of Central Europe, is sensitive to late frost events. Advanced leaf flushing due to climate warming may lead to more frequent frost damage in the future. Here, we explore local adaptation to late frost events at both continental and regional scales and test how moderate climate warming (+1. 5°C) affects late frost sensitivity. Short-term leaf injury and height growth after a late frost event were quantified in a common garden experiment with 2-year-old F. sylvatica seedlings. The fully crossed three-factorial design consisted of a late frost manipulation, a continuous warming manipulation and selected provenances (three provenances from western Bulgaria and three from southern Germany). Late frost led to leaf injury and reduced height growth (-7%). Provenances differed in their late frost sensitivity at the regional scale, and local adaptation was detected. At the larger scale, the Bulgarian provenances showed reduced height growth (-17%), while the German provenances did not exhibit growth reduction. The warming treatment prevented late frost damage, while height growth declined by 19% in the reference temperature treatment. This surprising finding was attributed to advanced leaf maturity in the warming treatment. The impact of late frost events on F. sylvatica in a warmer world will depend on timing. An event that damages leaves immediately after leaf flushing appears negligible a few days earlier or later, thereby complicating projections. Local adaptation to late frost is evident at a regional scale. Management strategies should aim at maximizing genetic diversity to adapt to climate change. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Kreyling J.,University of Bayreuth | Wiesenberg G.L.B.,University of Bayreuth | Thiel D.,University of Bayreuth | Wohlfart C.,University of Bayreuth | And 5 more authors.
Environmental and Experimental Botany | Year: 2012

Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is being investigated more and more through the introduction of species from warmer and drier climates, such as the (sub-) mediterranean Pinus nigra to dry sites in temperate Central Europe. Winter survival, however, may pose a serious threat to this strategy as cold extremes, which naturally determine the poleward range limits of forest trees, are not expected to follow the general warming trend in the near future.Here, juveniles of P. nigra from eight provenances throughout Europe were exposed to different climate change scenarios (factorial combinations of 42 days of drought and warming by 1.6°C) in a common garden experiment in Bayreuth, Germany. Cold hardiness (LT50) was determined by the Relative Electrolyte Leakage method (REL) in two consecutive winters.Cold hardiness of foliage differed by 10°C between the provenances studied and a local adaptation to minimum temperature was found. Cold hardiness was further affected by extreme summer drought, increasing cold hardiness by 3.9°C on average in the subsequent winter, and by summer warming, increasing cold hardiness by 3.4°C. Year-round warming had no significant effect on cold hardiness. Cold hardiness was related to the content of soluble carbohydrates and to the composition of fatty acids and alkanes in the needles. Juveniles of P. nigra exhibited a comparable cold hardiness as juveniles of species native to Central Europe (. Pinus sylvestris, Picea abies, Fagus sylvatica and Quercus petraea) under the same climatic conditions. Cold hardiness of the fine roots of P. nigra averaged -16.5°C compared to -23.8°C on average for needles.Our results imply that the cold hardiness of the foliage is adaptive to both long-term growing conditions at the seed origin (genetic heritage) and short-term alterations of these conditions (individual plasticity), while first hints suggest that cold hardiness of the roots is high and might not be adaptive. For P. nigra, below- and above-ground cold hardiness of selected provenances in mid-winter appear suitable for cultivation in temperate regions. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Kreyling J.,University of Bayreuth | Buhk C.,University of Koblenz-Landau | Backhaus S.,University of Bayreuth | Hallinger M.,University of Greifswald | And 7 more authors.
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Local adaptations to environmental conditions are of high ecological importance as they determine distribution ranges and likely affect species responses to climate change. Increased environmental stress (warming, extreme drought) due to climate change in combination with decreased genetic mixing due to isolation may lead to stronger local adaptations of geographically marginal than central populations. We experimentally observed local adaptations of three marginal and four central populations of Fagus sylvatica L., the dominant native forest tree, to frost over winter and in spring (late frost). We determined frost hardiness of buds and roots by the relative electrolyte leakage in two common garden experiments. The experiment at the cold site included a continuous warming treatment; the experiment at the warm site included a preceding summer drought manipulation. In both experiments, we found evidence for local adaptation to frost, with stronger signs of local adaptation in marginal populations. Winter frost killed many of the potted individuals at the cold site, with higher survival in the warming treatment and in those populations originating from colder environments. However, we found no difference in winter frost tolerance of buds among populations, implying that bud survival was not the main cue for mortality. Bud late frost tolerance in April differed between populations at the warm site, mainly because of phenological differences in bud break. Increased spring frost tolerance of plants which had experienced drought stress in the preceding summer could also be explained by shifts in phenology. Stronger local adaptations to climate in geographically marginal than central populations imply the potential for adaptation to climate at range edges. In times of climate change, however, it needs to be tested whether locally adapted populations at range margins can successfully adapt further to changing conditions. © 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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