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Science. 2019 Nov 15;366(6467):878-881. doi: 10.1126/science.aay5945.

Catchment properties and the photosynthetic trait composition of freshwater plant communities.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2
School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.
3
Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
4
Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland.
5
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
6
Aquatic Ecology, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany.
7
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
8
Department of Wildlife, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
9
Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia.
10
Department of Ecology and Environment, Poznán University of Life Sciences, Poznan, Poland.
11
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
12
Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway.
13
Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA.
14
United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.
15
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bailrigg, Lancaster, UK. scm@ceh.ac.uk ksandjensen@bio.ku.dk opedersen@bio.ku.dk.
16
Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. scm@ceh.ac.uk ksandjensen@bio.ku.dk opedersen@bio.ku.dk.
17
School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.

Abstract

Unlike in land plants, photosynthesis in many aquatic plants relies on bicarbonate in addition to carbon dioxide (CO2) to compensate for the low diffusivity and potential depletion of CO2 in water. Concentrations of bicarbonate and CO2 vary greatly with catchment geology. In this study, we investigate whether there is a link between these concentrations and the frequency of freshwater plants possessing the bicarbonate use trait. We show, globally, that the frequency of plant species with this trait increases with bicarbonate concentration. Regionally, however, the frequency of bicarbonate use is reduced at sites where the CO2 concentration is substantially above the air equilibrium, consistent with this trait being an adaptation to carbon limitation. Future anthropogenic changes of bicarbonate and CO2 concentrations may alter the species compositions of freshwater plant communities.

PMID:
31727836
DOI:
10.1126/science.aay5945

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