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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Diverging trends and drivers of Arctic flower production in Greenland over space and time

Becker-Scarpitta, Antoine; Antao, Laura H.; Schmidt, Niels Martin; Blanchet, F. Guillaume; Kaarlejaervi, Elina; Raundrup, Katrine; Roslin, Tomas


The Arctic is warming at an alarming rate. While changes in plant community composition and phenology have been extensively reported, the effects of climate change on reproduction remain poorly understood. We quantified multidecadal changes in flower density for nine tundra plant species at a low- and a high-Arctic site in Greenland. We found substantial changes in flower density over time, but the temporal trends and drivers of flower density differed both between species and sites. Total flower density increased over time at the low-Arctic site, whereas the high-Arctic site showed no directional change. Within and between sites, the direction and rate of change differed among species, with varying effects of summer temperature, the temperature of the previous autumn and the timing of snowmelt. Finally, all species showed a strong trade-off in flower densities between successive years, suggesting an effective cost of reproduction. Overall, our results reveal region- and taxon-specific variation in the sensitivity and responses of co-occurring species to shared climatic drivers, and a clear cost of reproductive investment among Arctic plants. The ultimate effects of further changes in climate may thus be decoupled between species and across space, with critical knock-on effects on plant species dynamics, food web structure and overall ecosystem functioning.


Arctic tundra; Flowering; Time series; Climatic drivers; Reproductive effort; Temperature; Snowmelt; (A)Synchrony

Published in

Polar Biology
2023, Volume: 46, number: 9, pages: 837-848
Publisher: SPRINGER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Climate Research

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