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
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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.
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