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Abstract Detail

Physiology & Ecophysiology

Warner, Scott M. [1], Jarosz, Andrew M. [2], Telewski, Frank W. [3].

A Comparison of Dendroclimatic Relationships in Quercus alba (White Oak) Before and After the Onset of Recent Warming.

Climate is currently changing at an unprecedented rate. Fossil pollen shows that plant species responded to glacial retreat by shifting their distributions, and contemporary climate change has already altered plant distributions, and their phenology. Individual trees can live long enough to experience climatic shifts, and their growth response to them may be a bellwether for a species’ ability to acclimate to climate change. In Michigan, white oak (Quercus alba) is an important component of forest communities across a wide range of site types. Individuals can live for centuries, long enough to experience recent climatic shifts in Michigan. Annual temperature there was 1.3 C higher from 1980-2012 compared to 1895-1979, and annual precipitation has been steadily increasing since the 1930s. Here we perform a dendroclimatic correlative analysis of a population of 150-year-old white oaks. We find relationships between radial growth and climate, compare these relationships before and after 1980, and speculate about the implications of our results in the face of continuing climate change. We found no significant difference in ring widths before and after 1980 (p=.795), however, growth-climate relationships reveal interesting differences between the time periods. Growth-temperature relationships were, mostly, more negative post-1980 than pre-1980, especially for winter and for summer prior to the year of ring formation (hereafter, “prior-year”). The winter change may be due to increased respiration or less snow accumulation. The summer change suggests that high temperatures are exacerbating summer drought stress, or exceeding the optimum for photosynthesis and respiration. Not all growth-temperature relationships are becoming more negative, however. In current-year fall, relationships were more positive post-1980 than pre-1980, suggesting that increasing temperatures may be extending the end of the growing season. Growth-precipitation relationships, too, were mostly more negative post-1980 than pre-1980, suggesting that precipitation increases are more than offsetting increased evaporative demand due to high temperatures. Temperatures are expected to increase year-round with continuing climatic change, which will likely cause white oak to decline at this site. This trend may be offset partially by an extended fall growing season. Precipitation is projected to increase during winter and spring. Because the growth-precipitation relationship changed direction from positive to negative during March and April, increasing precipitation in those months could be detrimental. Summer and fall precipitation may remain the same or decrease. Summer decreases could be highly detrimental, as evident in the significantly negative growth-temperature relationships and significantly positive growth-precipitation relationships.

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1 - Michigan State University, Plant Biology, Plant Biology Laborotories, 612 Wilson Rd., Room 143, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA
2 - Michigan State University, Plant Biology; Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Plant Biology Laborotories, 612 Wilson Rd., Room 143, East Lansing, MI, 48824, United States
3 - Michigan State University, Plant Biology; W.J. Beal Botanical Garden, Campus Planning and Administration, 408 West Circle Drive, Room 412, East Lansing, MI, 48824, United States

white oak
Quercus alba
radial growth
climate change.

Presentation Type: Poster This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: P002
Abstract ID:162
Candidate for Awards:Physiological Section Physiological Section Li-COR Prize

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