Universiteit Leiden

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Dissertation

General plant strategies and functions in wetlands: global trait-based analyses

This thesis compiled and analysed the currently largest global wetland plant trait database containing more than 1200 species from over 200 studies.

Author
Pan, Y.
Date
15 September 2020
Links
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Wetland plants are distinguished from plants of other terrestrial ecosystems by their adaptations to specific habitat stresses, including waterlogged and flooding and the subsequent abundance of phytotoxic compounds. Aiming to understand the adaptive strategies and functioning of wetland plants at a global scale, this thesis compiled and analysed the currently largest global wetland plant trait database containing more than 1200 species from over 200 studies. Explorations on global drivers of wetland plant traits revealed a variety of driving mechanisms affecting the expression of different wetland-specific traits. The evaluation of the global leaf economics spectrum in wetlands revealed that wetland plants generally hold a fast-return strategy with a relatively low respiration rate due to their unique leaf structure and plant functioning. Testing the main trait axes of wetland plants revealed the existence of multiple adaptive strategies to deal with the multi-faceted wetland conditions. This thesis proposes to consider wetland-specific adaptive traits, leaf economics traits and size-related traits equally but separately in wetland ecology to understand wetland plant strategies and enhance wetland ecosystem management.

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