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Desnoues, Elsa; Ferreira de Carvalho, Julie; Zohner, Constantin M.; Crowther, Thomas W. (2017): The relative roles of local climate adaptation and phylogeny in determining leaf-out timing of temperate tree species. In: Forest Ecosystems, Vol. 4, 26
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Abstract

Background: Leaf out times of temperate forest trees are a prominent determinant of global carbon dynamics throughout the year. Abiotic cues of leaf emergence are well studied but investigation of the relative roles of shared evolutionary history (phylogeny) and local adaptation to climate in determining the species-level responses to these cues is needed to better apprehend the effect of global change on leaf emergence. We explored the relative importance of phylogeny and climate in determining the innate leaf out phenology across the temperate biome. Methods: We used an extensive dataset of leaf-out dates of 1126 temperate woody species grown in eight Northern Hemisphere common gardens. For these species, information on the native climate and phylogenetic position was collected. Using linear regression analyses, we examine the relative effect of climate variables and phylogeny on leaf out variation among species. Results: Climate variables explained twice as much variation in leaf out timing as phylogenetic information, a process that was driven primarily by the complex interactive effects of multiple climate variables. Although the primary climate factors explaining species-level variation in leaf-out timing varied drastically across different families, our analyses reveal that local adaptation plays a stronger role than common evolutionary history in determining tree phenology across the temperate biome. Conclusions: In the long-term, the direct effects of physiological adaptation to abiotic effects of climate change on forest phenology are likely to outweigh the indirect effects mediated through changes in tree species composition.