Plant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary
AffiliationDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
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PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPlant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary 2014, 12 (9):e1001949 PLoS Biology
RightsThis is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
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AbstractThe Chicxulub bolide impact caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction of plants, but the associated selectivity and ecological effects are poorly known. Using a unique set of North Dakota leaf fossil assemblages spanning 2.2 Myr across the event, we show among angiosperms a reduction of ecological strategies and selection for fast-growth strategies consistent with a hypothesized recovery from an impact winter. Leaf mass per area (carbon investment) decreased in both mean and variance, while vein density (carbon assimilation rate) increased in mean, consistent with a shift towards ‘‘fast’’ growth strategies. Plant extinction from the bolide impact resulted in a shift in functional trait space that likely had broad consequences for ecosystem functioning.
DescriptionUA Open Access Publishing Fund
NoteOpen access journal.
VersionFinal published version