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Ecotypic variation in Elymus elymoides productivity and drought resistance traits across the western United States

Citation

Blumenthal, Dana (2020), Ecotypic variation in Elymus elymoides productivity and drought resistance traits across the western United States, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.931zcrjhz

Abstract

Introduction: Understanding local adaptation to climate is critical for managing ecosystems in the face of climate change. While there have been many provenance studies in trees, less is known about local adaptation in herbaceous species, including the perennial grasses that dominate arid and semiarid rangeland ecosystems.

Methods and Results: We used a common-garden study to quantify variation in growth and drought-resistance traits in 99 populations of Elymus elymoides from a broad geographic and climatic range in the western United States. Ecotypes from drier sites produced less biomass and smaller seeds, and had traits associated with greater drought resistance: small leaves with low osmotic potential and high integrated water use efficiency (δ13C). Seasonality also influenced plant traits. Plants from regions with relatively warm, wet summers had large seeds, large leaves, and low δ13C. Irrespective of climate, we also observed tradeoffs between biomass production and drought resistance traits.

Discussion: Together, these results suggest that much of the phenotypic variation among E. elymoides ecotypes represents local adaptation to differences in the amount and timing of water availability. In addition, ecotypes that grow rapidly may be less able to persist under dry conditions. Land managers may be able to use this variation to improve restoration success by seeding ecotypes with multiple drought resistance traits in areas with lower precipitation. The future success of this common rangeland species will likely depend on the use of tools such as seed transfer zones to match local variation in growth and drought resistance to predicted climatic conditions.

Usage Notes

The data are organized as follows: Descriptive and geographic data (columns 1-7); PRISM weather data used in PCA (columns 8-22); PCA axes (columns 23-25); Trait variables (columns 26-31). Detailed metadata for each column are listed below. Please refer to the associated manuscript for a detailed description of methods.

Collection ID: unique identifier for each seed collection

Geographic description: general description of seed collection site

Latitude: latitude of seed collection site, in decimal degrees

Longitude: longitude of seed collection site, in decimal degrees

Elevation (m): elevation of collection site

Cultivar: identifies seed collected from cultivar or non-cultivar

Wild collected: identifies seed collected from wild-growing plants or plants in cultivation

Annual precipitation (mm): annual precipitation of seed collection site

Annual maximum temperature: annual maximum temperature of seed collection site

Annual minimum temperature (oC): annual minimum temperature of seed collection site

Spring precipitation (mm): spring precipitation at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Spring minimum temperature (oC): spring minimum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Spring maximum temperature (oC): spring maximum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Summer precipitation (mm): summer precipitation at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Summer minimum temperature (oC): summer minimum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Summer maximum temperature (oC): summer maximum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Autumn precipitation (mm): autumn precipitation at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Autumn minimum temperature (oC): autumn minimum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Autumn maximum temperature (oC): autumn maximum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Winter precipitation (mm): winter precipitation at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Winter minimum temperature (oC): winter minimum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

Winter maximum temperature (oC): winter maximum temperature at the collection site (season defined uniquely for each site)

PC1 – Temperature: PCA axis 1, describes mean annual and seasonal temperatures (higher values are warmer)

PC2 – Precipitation: PCA axis 2, describes mean precipitation (higher values are wetter)

PC3 – Seasonality: PCA axis 3, describes seasonality of both precipitation and temperature (higher numbers denote warmer, wetter winters, and cooler, drier summers; lower number denote cooler, drier winters and warmer, wetter summers)

Seed mass (g): individual seed mass

Leaf δ13C (): ratio of 13C to 12C isotope mass in leaf tissue, expressed relative to international standard (VPDB)

Leaf area (cm2): average projected area of an individual leaf

Plant biomass (g): aboveground plant biomass

Leaf osmotic potential (MPa): leaf cell solute potential at full hydration

Leaf dry matter content (g/g): ratio of dry leaf mass to leaf mass at full hydration