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  1. Abstract

    The response of plant leaf and root phenology and biomass in the Arctic to global change remains unclear due to the lack of synchronous measurements of above- and belowground parts. Our objective was to determine the phenological dynamics of the above- and belowground parts of Eriophorum vaginatum in the Arctic and its response to warming. We established a common garden located at Toolik Lake Field Station; tussocks of E. vaginatum from three locations, Coldfoot, Toolik Lake and Sagwon, were transplanted into the common garden. Control and warming treatments for E. vaginatum were set up at the Toolik Lake during the growing seasons of 2016 and 2017. Digital cameras, a handheld sensor and minirhizotrons were used to simultaneously observe leaf greenness, normalized difference vegetation index and root length dynamics, respectively. Leaf and root growth rates of E. vaginatum were asynchronous such that the timing of maximal leaf growth (mid-July) was about 28 days earlier than that of root growth. Warming of air temperature by 1 °C delayed the timing of leaf senescence and thus prolonged the growing season, but the temperature increase had no significant effect on root phenology. The seasonal dynamics of leaf biomass were affected by air temperature,more »whereas root biomass was correlated with soil thaw depth. Therefore, we suggest that leaf and root components should be considered comprehensively when using carbon and nutrient cycle models, as above- and belowground productivity and functional traits may have a different response to climate warming.

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  2. The phenology of Arctic plants is an important determinant of the pattern of carbon uptake and may be highly sensitive to continued rapid climate change. Eriophorum vaginatum L. (Cyperaceae) has a disproportionate influence over ecosystem processes in moist acidic tundra, but it is unclear whether its growth and phenology will remain competitive in the future. We investigated whether northern tundra ecotypes of E. vaginatum could extend their growing season in response to direct warming and transplanting into southern ecosystems. At the same time, we examined whether southern ecotypes could adjust their growth patterns in order to thrive further north, should they disperse quickly enough. Detailed phenology measurements across three reciprocal transplant gardens over a 2-year period showed that some northern ecotypes were capable of growing for longer when conditions were favourable, but their biomass and growing season length was still shorter than those of the southern ecotype. Southern ecotypes retained large leaf length when transplanted north and mirrored the growing season length better than the others, mainly owing to immediate green-up after snowmelt. All ecotypes retained the same senescence timing, regardless of environment, indicating a strong genetic control. Eriophorum vaginatum may remain competitive in a warming world if southern ecotypesmore »can migrate north.« less