Plant physiology

Dr. Claudia Guimarães-Steinicke, Leipzig
Prof. Dr. Hannes Feilhauer, Leipzig

SP01 aims to investigate the role of plant diversity in hydrological and immediate functional trait responses to and recovery from extreme events such as drought and heat waves. The specific objective is to provide a combined insight into how plant individuals and communities respond to such extreme events based on hydrological and canopy structural functional traits. To further understand the drivers of the biodiversity–stability relationship and drought resistance and recovery responses, we will link the functional traits to the underlying mechanisms such as temporal complementarity effects on abiotic conditions.
In collaboration with other subprojects, we designed four concerted work packages to test physiological mechanisms driving plant species responses to drought and heat. We start by testing the temporal change of plant communities and species-specific physiological responses throughout the growing season subject to natural fluctuations in environmental, i.e., uncontrolled conditions (WP1). Moreover, we will explore plant physiological responses to a hot drought under controlled Ecotron conditions. This setup will allow testing plant diversity–stability relationships in terms of resistance, resistance, and temporal stability (WP2; see Coordination Proposal – ResCUE Experiment). Further, we aim to test the hypothesis that physiological and canopy structural trait performance can better explain the stabilizing effects of plant diversity with increasing drought intensities (WP3). Finally, we propose a synthesis work package to provide a mechanistic understanding of the stabilizing effects of plant diversity facing drought under natural fluctuations in environmental but also controlled conditions and increasing drought intensity based on functional hydrological and canopy structural plant traits derived by proximal sensing (WP4).