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Variation of foliar silicon concentrations in temperate forbs: effects of soil silicon, phylogeny and habitat

Citation

Klotz, Marius; Schaller, Jörg; Kurze, Susanne; Engelbrecht, Bettina MJ (2021), Variation of foliar silicon concentrations in temperate forbs: effects of soil silicon, phylogeny and habitat, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t4b8gtj16

Abstract

Silicon (Si) accumulation is known to alleviate various biotic and abiotic stressors in plants with potential ecological consequences. However, for dicotyledonous plants our understanding of Si variation remains limited. We conducted a comparative experimental study to investigate (1) interspecific variation of foliar Si concentrations across 37 dicotyledonous forbs of temperate grasslands, (2) intraspecific variation in foliar Si concentration in response to soil Si availability, the influence of (3) phylogenetic relatedness, and (4) habitat association to moisture. Foliar Si differed markedly (approx. 70-fold) across the investigated forbs, with some species exhibiting Si accumulation similar to grasses. Foliar Si increased with soil Si availability, but the response varied across species: species with higher Si accumulation capacity showed a stronger response, indicating that they did not actively upregulate Si uptake under low soil Si availability. Foliar Si showed a pronounced phylogenetic signal, i.e. closely related species exhibited more similar foliar Si concentrations than distantly related species. Significant differences in foliar Si concentration within closely related species pairs nevertheless support that active Si uptake and associated high Si concentrations has evolved multiple times in forbs. Foliar Si was not higher in species associated with drier habitats, implying that in dicotyledonous forbs of temperate grasslands high foliar inter- and intraspecific variation in foliar Si concentration in temperate forbs. This variation should have pervasive, but so far understudied, ecological consequences for community composition and functioning of temperate grasslands under land-use and climate change.