Meta-analyses in ecophysiology




Characterising the response of plants by means of meta-analyses
Plants are living beings and therefore show - like all biological organisms - variation among individuals. The variation can be considerable, partly caused by temporarily fluctuations in the environment when plants are grown in glasshouses or outside, spatially heterogenuous when plants are grown in growth rooms (which were actually made to control the environment!). Due to such variation, or variation in response between genotypes or species, results are generally not as clear-cut as one would like to wish. One way to come to a better generalisation is by a quantitative analysis of a number of experiments. Such a technique, which is called meta-analysis, allows for more general statements - if all results point to the same direction - or may, alternatively, show that some (groups of) species behave differently from other (groups of) species.

Meta-analyses have been used to describe the response of plant growth, or traits underlying the growth response, for a number of environmental variables. Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of papers describing the response to various environmental factors.



    1. Irradiance

Holmgren et al. (2012) Non-linear effects of drought under shade: reconciling physiological and ecological models in plant communities. Oecologia 169: 293-305 -
Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Poorter & Rose (2005) Light-dependent changes in the relationship between seed mass and seedling traits: a meta-analysis for rain forest tree species Oecologia 142: 378-387 -
Dormann & Woodin (2002) Climate change in the Arctic: using plant functional types in a meta-analysis of field experiments Funct. Ecol. 16: 4-17 -
Poorter & Nagel (2000) The role of biomass allocation in the growth response of plants to different levels of light, CO2, nutrients and water: a quantitative review. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 27: 595-607 pdf
Poorter & Van der Werf (1998) Is inherent variation in RGR determined by LAR at low irradiance and by NAR at high irradiance? A review of herbaceous species. In: Inherent Variation in Plant Growth. Physiological Mechanisms and Ecological Consequences. Lambers H, Poorter H & Van Vuuren MMI (eds). Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands. pp. 309-336 pdf
Koricheva et al. (1998) Regulation of woody plant secondary metabolism by resource availability: hypothesis testing by means of meta-analysis Oikos 83: 212-226 -




    2. R:FR

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link




    3. UV-B

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Li et al. (2010) A meta-analysis of the responses of woody and herbaceous plants to elevated ultraviolet-B radiation. Acta Oecol. 36: 1-9
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Newsham & Robinson (2009) Responses of plants in polar regions to UVB exposure: a meta-analysis. Glob. Change Biol. 15: 2574-2589
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. Tansley review. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Dormann & Woodin (2002) Climate change in the Arctic: using plant functional types in a meta-analysis of field experiments Funct. Ecol. 16: 4-17 -
Searles et al. (2001) A meta-analysis of plant field studies simulating stratospheric ozone depletion Oecologia 127: 1-10 -




    4. CO2

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Wang & Taub (2010) Interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide and environmental stresses on root mass fraction in plants: a meta-analytical synthesis using pairwise techniques Oecologia 163: 1-11 -
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Ainsworth (2008) Rice production in a changing climate: a meta-analysis of responses to elevated carbon dioxide and elevated ozone concentrations Global Change Biol. 14: 1642-1650 -
Taub & Wang (2008) Why are nitrogen concentrations in plant tissues lower under elevated CO2? A critical examination of the hypotheses J. Integr. Plant Biol. 50: 1365-1374 -
Taub et al. (2008) Effects of elevated CO2 on the protein concentration of food crops: a meta-analysis Global Change Biol. 14: 565-575 -
Stiling & Cornelissen (2007) How does elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) affect plant–herbivore interactions? A field experiment and meta-analysis of CO2-mediated changes on plant chemistry and herbivore performance Global Change Biol. 13: 1823-1842 -
De Graaff et al. (2006) Interactions between plant growth and soil nutrient cycling under elevated CO2: a meta-analysis Global Change Biol. 12: 2077-2091 -
Valkama et al. (2006) Effects of elevated O3, alone and in combination with elevated CO2, on tree leaf chemistry and insect herbivore performance: a meta-analysis Global Change Biol. 13: 184-201 -
Ainsworth & Long (2005) What have we learned from 15 years of free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2 New Phytol. 165: 351-372 -
Treseder (2004) A meta-analysis of mycorrhizal responses to nitrogen, phosphorus, and atmospheric CO2 in field studies New Phytol. 164: 347-355 -
Poorter & Navas (2003) Plant growth and competition at elevated CO2: on winners, losers and functional groups. New Phytol. 157:175-198. pdf
Ainsworth et al. (2002) A meta-analysis of elevated [CO2] effects on soybean (Glycine max) physiology, growth and yield Glob. Change Biol. 8: -
Dormann & Woodin (2002) Climate change in the Arctic: using plant functional types in a meta-analysis of field experiments Funct. Ecol. 16: 4-17 -
Jablonski et al. (2002) Plant reproduction under elevated CO 2 conditions: a meta-analysis of reports on 79 crop and wild species New Phytol. 156: 9-26 -
Kerstiens (2001) Meta-analysis of the interaction between shade-tolerance,light environment and growth response of woody species to elevated CO2. Acta Oecol. 22: 61-69 -
Poorter & Pérez-Soba (2001) The growth response of plants to elevated CO2 under non-optimal environmental conditions. Oecologia 129: 1-20 pdf
Poorter & Nagel (2000) The role of biomass allocation in the growth response of plants to different levels of light, CO2, nutrients and water: a quantitative review. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 27: 595-607 pdf
Peterson et al. (1999) The photosynthesis leaf nitrogen relationship at ambient and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide: a meta-analysis Glob. Change Biol. 5: -
Wand et al. (1999) Responses of wild C4 and C3 grass (Poaceae) species to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration: a meta-analytic test of current theories and perceptions Glob. Change Biol. -
Cotrufo et al. (1998) Elevated CO2 reduces the nitrogen concentration of plant tissues. Glob. Change Biol. 4: 43-54 -
Curtis & Wang (1998) A meta-analysis of elevated CO2 effects on woody plant mass, form, and physiology. Oecologia 113: 299-313 -
Koricheva et al. (1998) Regulation of woody plant secondary metabolism by resource availability: hypothesis testing by means of meta-analysis Oikos 83: 212-226 -
Poorter (1998) Do slow-growing species and nutrient-stressed plants respond relatively strongly to elevated CO2 ? Glob. Change Biol. 4: 693-697 pdf
Curtis (1996) A meta-analysis of leaf gas exchange and nitrogen in trees grown under elevated carbon dioxide Plant Cell & Environ. 19: 127-137 -
Poorter et al. (1996) Interspecific variation in the growth response of plants to elevated CO2: a search for functional types. In: Körner C & Bazzaz FA (eds). Carbon Dioxide, Populations, Communities. Physiological Ecology Series, Academic Press, San Diego. Pp. 375-412  
Poorter (1993) Interspecific variation in the response of plants to an elevated ambient CO2 concentration. Vegetatio 104/105: 77-97 pdf
Kimball (1983) Carbon dioxide and agricultural yield: An assemblage and analysis of 430 prior observations. Agron. J. 75: 779-788 -




    5. Ozone

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Wang & Taub (2010) Interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide and environmental stresses on root mass fraction in plants: a meta-analytical synthesis using pairwise techniques Oecologia 163: 1-11 -
Wittig et al. (2009) Quantifying the impact of current and future tropospheric ozone on tree biomass, growth, physiology and biochemistry: a quantitative meta-analysis. Glob. Change Biol. 15: 396-424
Feng & Kobayashi (2009) Assessing the impacts of current and future concentrations of surface ozone on crop yield with meta-analysis. Atmosph. Env. 43: 1510-1519
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Feng et al.(2008) Impact of elevated ozone concentration on growth, physiology, and yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.): a meta-analysis. Global Change Biol. 14: 2696-2708 -
Ainsworth (2008) Rice production in a changing climate: a meta-analysis of responses to elevated carbon dioxide and elevated ozone concentrations Global Change Biol. 14: 1642-1650 -
Hayes et al. (2006) Meta-analysis of the relative sensitivity of semi-natural vegetation species to ozone. Environ. Poll. 146: 754-762 -
Valkama et al. (2006) Effects of elevated O3, alone and in combination with elevated CO2, on tree leaf chemistry and insect herbivore performance: a meta-analysis Global Change Biol. 13: 184-201 -
Morgan et al. (2003) How does elevated ozone impact soybean? A meta-analysis of photosynthesis, growth and yield. Plant Cell & Environ. 26: 1317-1328 -
Koricheva et al. (1998) Regulation of woody plant secondary metabolism by resource availability: hypothesis testing by means of meta-analysis Oikos 83: 212-226 -




    6. Nutrients

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Wang & Taub (2010) Interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide and environmental stresses on root mass fraction in plants: a meta-analytical synthesis using pairwise techniques Oecologia 163: 1-11 -
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Dormann & Woodin (2002) Climate change in the Arctic: using plant functional types in a meta-analysis of field experiments Funct. Ecol. 16: 4-17 -
Poorter & Nagel (2000) The role of biomass allocation in the growth response of plants to different levels of light, CO2, nutrients and water: a quantitative review. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 27: 595-607 pdf
Koricheva et al. (1998) Regulation of woody plant secondary metabolism by resource availability: hypothesis testing by means of meta-analysis Oikos 83: 212-226 -




    7. Drought

Holmgren et al. (2012) Non-linear effects of drought under shade: reconciling physiological and ecological models in plant communities. Oecologia 169: 293-305 -
Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Manzoni et al. (2011) Optimizing stomatal conductance for maximum carbon gain under water stress: a meta-analysis across plant functional types and climates. Funct. Ecol. 25: 456-467 link
Wang & Taub (2010) Interactive effects of elevated carbon dioxide and environmental stresses on root mass fraction in plants: a meta-analytical synthesis using pairwise techniques Oecologia 163: 1-11 -
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Poorter & Nagel (2000) The role of biomass allocation in the growth response of plants to different levels of light, CO2, nutrients and water: a quantitative review. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 27: 595-607 pdf
Koricheva et al. (1998) Regulation of woody plant secondary metabolism by resource availability: hypothesis testing by means of meta-analysis Oikos 83: 212-226 -




    8. Waterlogging

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link




    9. Submergence

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link




    10. Temperature

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Way & Oren (2010) Differential responses to changes in growth temperature between trees from different functional groups and biomes: a review and synthesis of data. Tree Physiol. 30: 669-688 -
Wu et al. (2010) Responses of terrestrial ecosystems to temperature and precipitation change: a meta-analysis of experimental manipulation. Glob. Change Biol. 17: 927-942 -
Parent et al. (2010) Modelling temperature-compensated physiological rates, based on the co-ordination of responses to temperature of developmental processes J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2057-2069 -
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Lin et al. (2010) Climate warming and biomass accumulation of terrestrial plants: a meta-analysis. New Phytologist 188: 187-198 -
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Kattge & Knorr (2007) Temperature acclimation in a biochemical model of photosynthesis: a reanalysis of data from 36 species Plant Cell & Environ. 30: 1176-1190 -
Zvereva & Kzlov (2006) Consequences of simultaneous elevation of carbon dioxide and temperature for plant–herbivore interactions: a metaanalysis Glob. Change Biol. 12: 27-41 -
Dormann & Woodin (2002) Climate change in the Arctic: using plant functional types in a meta-analysis of field experiments Funct. Ecol. 16: 4-17 -
Rustad et al. (2001) A meta-analysis of the response of soil respiration, net nitrogen mineralization, and aboveground plant growth to experimental ecosystem warming Oecologia 126: 543-562 -
Poorter & Nagel (2000) The role of biomass allocation in the growth response of plants to different levels of light, CO2, nutrients and water: a quantitative review. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 27: 595-607 pdf
Arft et al. (1999) Responses of tundra plants to experimental warming: meta-analysis of the international tundra experiment. Ecol. Monogr. 69: 491-511 -




    11. Salinity

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link




    12. Soil compaction

Poorter et al. (2012) Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control. New Phytol. 193: 30-50 link
Ampoorter et al. (2011) Effects of soil compaction on growth and survival of tree saplings: A meta-analysis. Bas. Appl. Ecol. 12: 394-402 -
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2010) A method to construct dose-response curves for a wide range of environmental factors and plant traits by means of a meta-analysis of phenotypic data. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 2043-2055 link
Poorter et al. (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol. 182: 565-588 link
Fleming et al. (2006) Effects of organic matter removal, soil compaction, and vegetation control on 5-year seedling performance: a regional comparison of Long-Term Soil Productivity sites Can. J. For. Res 36: 529-550 -




    Meta-analysis in general

Harrison (2011) Getting started with meta-analysis Meth. Ecol. Evol. 2: 1-10 -
Kueffer et al. (2011) Fame, glory and neglect in meta-analyses Trends Ecol. Evol. 26:493-494 -
Hillebrand (2008) Meta-analysis in Ecology Encyclopedia of Life Sciences -
Hedges et al. (1999) The meta-analysis of response ratios in experimental ecology Ecology 80: 1150-1156 -