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  1. Abstract

    There is an urgent need to synthesize the state of our knowledge on plant responses to climate. The availability of open-access data provide opportunities to examine quantitative generalizations regarding which biomes and species are most responsive to climate drivers. Here, we synthesize time series of structured population models from 162 populations of 62 plants, mostly herbaceous species from temperate biomes, to link plant population growth rates (λ) to precipitation and temperature drivers. We expect: (1) more pronounced demographic responses to precipitation than temperature, especially in arid biomes; and (2) a higher climate sensitivity in short-lived rather than long-lived species. We find that precipitation anomalies have a nearly three-fold larger effect onλthan temperature. Species with shorter generation time have much stronger absolute responses to climate anomalies. We conclude that key species-level traits can predict plant population responses to climate, and discuss the relevance of this generalization for conservation planning.

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  2. Abstract

    Natural populations are exposed to seasonal variation in environmental factors that simultaneously affect several demographic rates (survival, development and reproduction). The resulting covariation in these rates determines population dynamics, but accounting for its numerous biotic and abiotic drivers is a significant challenge. Here, we use a factor‐analytic approach to capture partially unobserved drivers of seasonal population dynamics. We use 40 years of individual‐based demography from yellow‐bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventer) to fit and project population models that account for seasonal demographic covariation using a latent variable. We show that this latent variable, by producing positive covariation among winter demographic rates, depicts a measure of environmental quality. Simultaneously, negative responses of winter survival and reproductive‐status change to declining environmental quality result in a higher risk of population quasi‐extinction, regardless of summer demography where recruitment takes place. We demonstrate how complex environmental processes can be summarized to understand population persistence in seasonal environments.

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  8. Houslay, Thomas (Ed.)
  9. Gaillard, Jean‐Michel (Ed.)