Peer review artikel

A deepened water table increases the vulnerability of peat mosses to periodic drought


“Here we address the combined impact of multiple stressors that are becoming more common with climate change. To study the combined effects of a lower water table (WT) and increased frequency of drought periods on the resistance and resilience of peatlands, we conducted a mesocosm experiment. This study evaluated how the photosynthesis of lawn Sphagnum mosses responds to and recovers from an experimental periodic drought after exposure to the stresses of a deep or deepened WT (naturally dry and 17-year-long water level drawdown [WLD] in fen and bog environments). We aimed to quantify if deep WTs (1) support acclimation to drought, or (2) increase the base-level physiological stress of mosses or (3) exacerbate the impact of periodic drought. There was no evidence of acclimation in mosses from drier environments; periodic drought decreased the photosynthesis of all Sphagnum species studied. WLDdecreased the photosynthesis of bog-originating mosses prior to periodic drought, indicating that these mosses were stressed by the hydrological change. Deep WTs exacerbated Sphagnum vulnerability to periodic drought, indicating that the combination of drying habitats and increasing frequency of periodic drought could lead to a rapid transition in lawn vegetation. Water-retaining traits may increase Sphagnum resilience to periodic drought. Large capitula size was associated with a higher resistance; the bog originating species studied here lacked large capitula or dense carpet structure and were more vulnerable to drought than the larger fen originating species. Consequently, lawns in bogs may become threatened. Recovery after rewetting was significant for all mosses, but none completely recovered within 3 weeks. The most drought-resilient species had fen origin, indicating that fens are less likely to undergo a sudden transition due to periodic drought. Synthesis: Water level drawdown associated with climate change increases the sensitivity of Sphagnum mosses to periods of drought and moves them closer to their tipping point as species on the edge of their ecological envelope rapidly shut down photosynthesis and recover poorly.”

(Citation: Kokkonen, N.,Laine, A.M., Korrensalo, A. – A deepened water table increases the vulnerability of peat mosses to periodic drought – Journal of Ecology (2024)1-15 – DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.14305 – (Open Access))

© 2024 The Authors. Journal of Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society.

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