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Forests 2018, 9(12), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120775

Environmental Conditions and Species Identity Drive Metabolite Levels in Green Leaves and Leaf Litter of 14 Temperate Woody Species

1
Plant Interactions Ecophysiology Group, Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
2
Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
3
Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
4
Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), Latokartanonkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 15 December 2018
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Abstract

Research Highlights: Leaf chemistry is a key driver of litter decomposition; however, studies directly comparing metabolites that are important for tree growth and defence across different woody species are scarce. Background and Objectives: Choosing 14 temperate woody species differing in their growth rates, nutrient demand, shade tolerance, and drought sensitivity, we hypothesized that the species would group according to their metabolite profiles based on their ecological background. Materials and Methods: We analysed total N and C, soluble amino acid, protein, and phenolic levels in green leaves and leaf litter of these species, each in two consecutive years. Results: Metabolite levels varied significantly across species and between the sampling years which differed in temperature and precipitation (i.e., colder/drier vs warmer/ wetter). Conclusions: The 14 woody species could not be grouped according to their green leaf or leaf litter metabolite profiles. In litter leaves, most of the variation was explained by total phenolics and total nitrogen levels, and in green leaves by total phenolics and total soluble amino acid levels. Local climate variation between the two consecutive years for green leaves or leaf litter led to significant differences in metabolite levels, although some of them were species-specific. View Full-Text
Keywords: amino acids; proteins; phenolics; temperate tree species; N metabolites; litter; leaves; angiosperms; microclimate amino acids; proteins; phenolics; temperate tree species; N metabolites; litter; leaves; angiosperms; microclimate
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    Description: Table S1: Temperature (°C) and total precipitation (mm) for the growth periods (GP, mid May to mid October) and non-growth periods (NGP, mid October to mid May) as well as annual for the different years. Table S2: Total N and C concentration (mg / g dw) and C/N ratio in two consecutive years in leaf litter and green leaves. Apl = Acer platanoides, Aps = Acer pseudoplatanus, Bpe = Betula pendula, Cbe = Carpinus betulus, Cav = Coryllus avellana, Fsy = Fagus sylvatica, Fex = Fraxinus excelsior, Ptr = Populus tremula, Pav = Prunus avium, Qro = Quercus robur, Sto = Sorbus torminalis, Tco = Tilia cordata, Tpl = Tilia platyphyllos, Ugl = Ulmus glabra. Litt = leaf litter, lvs = green leaves. The number indicate the years of sampling. Shown are mean ± standard deviation for mixed samples. Table S3: Total soluble amino acid, protein, and phenolic concentration (mg / g dw) in two consecutive years in leaf litter and green leaves. Apl = Acer platanoides, Aps = Acer pseudoplatanus, Bpe = Betula pendula, Cbe = Carpinus betulus, Cav = Coryllus avellana, Fsy = Fagus sylvatica, Fex = Fraxinus excelsior, Ptr = Populus tremula, Pav = Prunus avium, Qro = Quercus robur, Sto = Sorbus torminalis, Tco = Tilia cordata, Tpl = Tilia platyphyllos, Ugl = Ulmus glabra. Litt = leaf litter, lvs = green leaves. The number indicate the years of sampling. Shown are mean ± standard deviation for mixed samples.
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Simon, J.; Dörken, V.M.; L.-M.-Arnold, A.; Adamczyk, B. Environmental Conditions and Species Identity Drive Metabolite Levels in Green Leaves and Leaf Litter of 14 Temperate Woody Species. Forests 2018, 9, 775.

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