Wetland plants have developed a suite of traits, such as aerenchyma, radial oxygen loss, and leaf gas films, to adapt to wetland environment featured by e.g. a low redox potential and a lack of electron acceptors. These ecophysiological traits are critical for the survival and physiological functioning of wetland plants. Most studies on these traits typically focus on a single trait and a single or few species at the time.
Next to these traits, traits of the leaf economics spectrum (LES) that reflect resources acquisition and allocation in plant species have also been frequently measured in wetlands. However, the performance of the LES has rarely been examined among wetland plants.
Both suites of traits are critical for ‐but affect different aspects of‐ wetland plant functioning and survival. The interactions between them, potentially causing synergies or trade‐offs, reflect wetland plant strategies to simultaneously deal with stress tolerance and resources utilization, and have ramifications for the functioning of wetland ecosystems.
Based on a literature review and quantitative analysis of available data, we provide evidence suggesting that LES and ecophysiological traits may be decoupled (e.g., for root porosity & radial oxygen loss vs. leaf nitrogen) or coupled (e.g., for iron tolerance vs. SLA) in wetlands, depending on the trait combination concerned. This rather complex relationship between wetland adaptation traits and LES traits indicates that there can be multiple mechanisms behind the strategies of wetland plants.
We further illustrate how adaptation and LES traits together contribute to wetland ecosystem functions, such as denitrification and methane emission. We highlight that both suites of traits should be considered simultaneously when applying trait‐based methods to wetland ecology.
Figure 2. Root porosity vs. Leaf nitrogen
The original root porosity and leaf nitrogen data used to make the Figure 2. in the manuscript. More data description can be found in the Appendix_FEPANSA1.
Figure 3. ROL vs. Leaf nitrogen
The original radial oxygen loss (ROL) and leaf nitrogen data used to make the Figure 3 in the manuscript. More data description can be found in the Appendix_FEPANSA1.
Figure 4. Iron Tolerance vs. SLA
The original iron tolerance and specific leaf area (SLA) data used to make the Figure 4 in the manuscript. More data description can be found in the Appendix_FEPANSA1.