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      Specific leaf area explains differences in leaf traits between congeneric savanna and forest trees

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      Functional Ecology

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Most cited references 23

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          From tropics to tundra: global convergence in plant functioning.

          Despite striking differences in climate, soils, and evolutionary history among diverse biomes ranging from tropical and temperate forests to alpine tundra and desert, we found similar interspecific relationships among leaf structure and function and plant growth in all biomes. Our results thus demonstrate convergent evolution and global generality in plant functioning, despite the enormous diversity of plant species and biomes. For 280 plant species from two global data sets, we found that potential carbon gain (photosynthesis) and carbon loss (respiration) increase in similar proportion with decreasing leaf life-span, increasing leaf nitrogen concentration, and increasing leaf surface area-to-mass ratio. Productivity of individual plants and of leaves in vegetation canopies also changes in constant proportion to leaf life-span and surface area-to-mass ratio. These global plant functional relationships have significant implications for global scale modeling of vegetation-atmosphere CO2 exchange.
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            N : P ratios in terrestrial plants: variation and functional significance

            Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability limit plant growth in most terrestrial ecosystems. This review examines how variation in the relative availability of N and P, as reflected by N : P ratios of plant biomass, influences vegetation composition and functioning. Plastic responses of plants to N and P supply cause up to 50-fold variation in biomass N : P ratios, associated with differences in root allocation, nutrient uptake, biomass turnover and reproductive output. Optimal N : P ratios - those of plants whose growth is equally limited by N and P - depend on species, growth rate, plant age and plant parts. At vegetation level, N : P ratios <10 and >20 often (not always) correspond to N- and P-limited biomass production, as shown by short-term fertilization experiments; however long-term effects of fertilization or effects on individual species can be different. N : P ratios are on average higher in graminoids than in forbs, and in stress-tolerant species compared with ruderals; they correlate negatively with the maximal relative growth rates of species and with their N-indicator values. At vegetation level, N : P ratios often correlate negatively with biomass production; high N : P ratios promote graminoids and stress tolerators relative to other species, whereas relationships with species richness are not consistent. N : P ratios are influenced by global change, increased atmospheric N deposition, and conservation managment. Contents Summary 243 I Introduction 244 II Variability of N : P ratios in response to nutrient  supply 244 III Critical N : P ratios as indicators of nutrient  limitation 248 IV Interspecific variation in N : P ratios 252 V Vegetation properties in relation to N : P ratios 255 VI Implications of N : P ratios for human impacts  on ecosystems 258 VII Conclusions 259 Acknowledgements 259 References 260.
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              Darwin's abominable mystery: Insights from a supertree of the angiosperms.

              Angiosperms are among the major terrestrial radiations of life and a model group for studying patterns and processes of diversification. As a tool for future comparative studies, we compiled a supertree of angiosperm families from published phylogenetic studies. Sequence data from the plastid rbcL gene were used to estimate relative timing of branching events, calibrated by using robust fossil dates. The frequency of shifts in diversification rate is largely constant among time windows but with an apparent increase in diversification rates within the more recent time frames. Analyses of species numbers among families revealed that diversification rate is a labile attribute of lineages at all levels of the tree. An examination of the top 10 major shifts in diversification rates indicates they cannot easily be attributed to the action of a few key innovations but instead are consistent with a more complex process of diversification, reflecting the interactive effects of biological traits and the environment.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Functional Ecology
                Funct Ecology
                Wiley-Blackwell
                0269-8463
                1365-2435
                December 2005
                December 2005
                : 19
                : 6
                : 932-940
                Article
                10.1111/j.1365-2435.2005.01045.x
                517ead8a-a9e8-439d-bb27-7e5fed959718
                © 2005

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