Global patterns of the leaf economics spectrum in wetlands

Yingji Pan, Ellen Cieraad, Jean Armstrong, William Armstrong, Beverley R. Clarkson, Timothy D. Colmer, Ole Pedersen, Eric J.W. Visser, Laurentius A.C.J. Voesenek, Peter M. van Bodegom

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The leaf economics spectrum (LES) describes consistent correlations among a variety of leaf traits that reflect a gradient from conservative to acquisitive plant strategies. So far, whether the LES holds in wetland plants at a global scale has been unclear. Using data on 365 wetland species from 151 studies, we find that wetland plants in general show a shift within trait space along the same common slope as observed in non-wetland plants, with lower leaf mass per area, higher leaf nitrogen and phosphorus, faster photosynthetic rates, and shorter leaf life span compared to non-wetland plants. We conclude that wetland plants tend to cluster at the acquisitive end of the LES. The presented global quantifications of the LES in wetland plants enhance our understanding of wetland plant strategies in terms of resources acquisition and allocation, and provide a stepping-stone to developing trait-based approaches for wetland ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4519
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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