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ability of plants to respond to environmental factors such as soil temperatures. This paper examines the effects of arti-cially warmed environment using open-top chambers (OTCs). It investigates the effect of temperature changes on the growth of Dryas integrifolia. This is in light of the growing concern of the changing climatic weather condition more so in the cold climatic regions of the world. It hypothesizes the difference in growth of Dryas integrifolia exposed to OTC- treatment as compared to those in natural setting.
This study reveals that there is statistically significant difference in growth of Dryas integrifolia exposed to OTC- treatment as compared to those in natural setting. It gives a new view of the possibility that future change of climate might as well not be detrimental to the growth of natural vegetation in the arctic regions
It is a scientific fact that plant development is subjected to environmental factors. Soil temperature is one of these important environmental factors that influence plant growth (Shaver et al., 2000). There is a growing corncern in global warming with climate expected to change drastically in the future leading to an impact on cold climate vegetation. Therefore, it is important to understanding how plants adopt to such environmental factors as an indicator future adoptations in regard to global warming. A mojor plant species worth examining is Dryas integrifolia. This is a native to the cold regions and mainly the arctic and alpine regions of Europe, Asia and North America. It is a low mat-forming undershrub with branches freely rooting, it is leaves are leathery evergreen (CYSIP: Botany, 2012). In this regard, a change in climatic conditions in the Arctic region is most likely impact plant distribution, abundance, and biodiversity (Callaghan et al., 2005). The study examines the impact of warming on the production of Dryas integrifolia.
Study hypothesis; there is statistically significant difference in growth of Dryas integrifolia exposed to OTC- treatment as compared to those in natural setting. This is indicated by a difference in the;
1. First day a new leaf was observed
2. First day a mature flower was observed
3. First day a mature capsule was observed
4. First day a senescing leaf was observed
Review of the Literature
According to Hudson and partners, Arctic's cold climate greatly influences vital environmental aspects essential for plant life. These factors include air and soil temperatures, nutrient availability, as well as soil moisture. However, recently, there has been a steady increase in warmth in the region with the increase hypothesized to bring about adverse effects on tundra plants. Therefore, this study alleges that understanding the effects of environmental changes on plants is vital in predicting plant responses to climate change (Hudson, Henry, & Cornwell, 2010). As outlined by this article, the researchers artificially warmed three plant communities in Alexandra, Fiord, Nunavut and Canada as from 1992 and in each community; they used open-top chambers to warm the vegetation at temperatures between 1 to 21 degrees. During the experiment, the researchers investigated temperature effect on leaf size, specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content, plant height, leaf carbon concentration, leaf nitrogen concentration, leaf carbon isotope discrimination (LCID), and leaf ? As well. Following the administration of the artificial warming techniques, the study group found out that long-term artificial warming affected some traits in the plant species studied. First, the evergreen shrub, Cassiope tetragona responded frequently having increased leaf size and plant height, decreased SLA, leaf carbon concentration, and LCID. Next was the deciduous shrub, Salix arctica which recorded increased leaf size and plant height, decreased SLA. In addition, the evergreen shrub, Dryas integrifolia had increased leaf size and plant height, decreased LCID. Fourth was the forb, Oxyria digyna which showed increased leaf size and plant height, while the sedge, Eriophorum angustifolium spp.triste only had decreased leaf carbon concentration. Despite the observed changes, it was realized that the artificial warming had no impact on both leaf nitrogen concentration and LDMC. Therefore from the study, the researchers concluded that plant growth was more sensitive to warming than leaf chemistry traits. Moreover, the article argues that tundra plants in the Arctic show multiple responses to warming such as taller shoots and larger leaves.
Fenner ascertains that timing of fruiting is essential in controlling abundance and variety of obligate frugivores in tropical ecosystems. Therefore, his study proposes that understanding plants phenology in these regions is vital in understanding plants' function and diversity (Fenner, 1998). Additionally, he outlines that collection of long-term masting data is important in monitoring biological effect of global climate change on plants growth. In addition, he alleges that significant surge in mean temperature increases fruit production rate among most plant species but decreases fruiting in species requiring cold temperatures to produce fruits such as Dacrydium cupressinum. Therefore, the article hypothesizes that reproductive phonology of plant communities directly correlates with climate change in both montane grasslands and tropical forests.
Zhang and Welker in their study argue that high-elevation ecosystems are sensitive to constant climatic changes. To evaluate this hypothesis, they conducted a field study within the Tibetan alpine tundra grassland. In their field experiment, they exposed the plants to experimental warming in which, they lowered irradiance, and wind speed to mimic changes in environmental conditions (Zhang & Welker, 1996). The study's findings showed that warming treatment significantly increased air temperature by 5 degrees and soil temperature by 3 degrees at 5cm depth. From these results, the researchers realized that grasses rapidly responded to warmer conditions by week 5 of the experimental warming. In addition, lower irradiance potentially decreased grass biomass during the same period. In line with this, under normal conditions, the total biomass of the plants under investigation steadily increased until September, declining from October onwards. Conversely, in warmed conditions, the biomass extended into October due to postponement of senescence. This study concludes that while alpine grasses significantly responds to altered conditions, other alpine plants do not. Additionally, plants biomass record significant change in warmer summers, this may be extended leading to changes on carbon-dioxide balances, nutrient cycling, and forage accessibility.
The ever fluctuating temperatures in Europe and North America are slowly resulting in earlier budburst among several plant species. To confirm this hypothesis, a study on the effects of temperature and photoperiod on budburst in two Mediterranean oaks having different wood anatomy and leaf habit was conducted (Sanz-Perez, Castro-Diez, & Valladares, 2008). The researchers planted seedlings of Quercus ilexsubsp; evergreen and diffuse-porous wood and Q. faginea; semi-deciduous and ring-porous wood in two different temperatures, 12 and 19 degrees. Besides, the seedlings were exposed to two photoperiods; 10 and 16h in a factorial experiment. Additionally, half of leaves of the seedling at 16h photoperiod and 19 degrees were covered with aluminium foil to hinder photosynthesis. Moreover, soluble sugar concentrations, starch and lipids levels in leaves, stems and roots were measured before and after budburst. From the experiment, Q. faginea had earlier budburst than Q. ilex though both seedlings budburst was controlled by the temperature and photoperiod.
Leimu and associates agree that the unpredictable climatic changes and habitat division are the current major threats to biodiversity. According to this, it is challenging for plant species to adapt with altered abiotic and biotic environments caused by climatic changes (Leimu, Vergeer, Angeloni, & Ouborg, 2010). The constant and rapid environmental changes, caused by human activities, greatly affect ecological processes ultimately leading in loss of biodiversity. In addition, some organisms adapt to these hard conditions thus becoming more resistant and easily survive than other species. However, increased habitat fragmentation compromises these organisms ability to survive and some become extinct. Thus, this study calls for thorough investigations on the effects of increasing fragmentation and climate change on plants population viability and extinction risks.
According to Shaver, et al., the world's greenhouse emissions are steadily rising and over the next century the global temperature would have risen by 1 to 3.5 degrees (Shaver, et al., 2000). In this study, it is hypothesized that temperature directly affects several aspects of the ecosystem and responses to curb global warming will become difficult to initiate. Therefore, the article outlines a theoretical framework used in understanding climatic changes to act as a guide to new research. However, in this study, the authors allege that understanding the impact of both global warming and carbon dioxide concentration faces several challenges due to the web of indirect effects resulting from interactions among processes directly affected by environmental changes. In addition, the paper outlines that experimental and analytical approaches should be integrated with large-scale monitoring of variables and processes that experimental studies have identified as critical indicators of ecosystem change. The combination of global monitoring with other experimental data acquisitions is recommended since it would provide early warning system to detect and potentially mitigate the ecosystem concerns.
Forchhammer, Rasch, & Rysgaard outline that the Arctic climate is rapidly changing and has recorded a temperature increase of approximately 2 to 3 degrees within the past five decades. In addition, predictions show that the temperature in the…[continue]
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