Plant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary

Benjamin Blonder, Dana L. Royer, Kirk R. Johnson, Ian Miller, Brian J. Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

extinction
Carbon
Biological Extinction
Angiosperms
plant veins
Growth
Ecosystems
Ecosystem
leaves
Veins
Angiospermae
fossils
Recovery
winter
ecosystems
carbon
carbon dioxide fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Plant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary. / Blonder, Benjamin; Royer, Dana L.; Johnson, Kirk R.; Miller, Ian; Enquist, Brian J.

In: PLoS Biology, Vol. 12, No. 9, 01.01.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Blonder, Benjamin ; Royer, Dana L. ; Johnson, Kirk R. ; Miller, Ian ; Enquist, Brian J. / Plant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary. In: PLoS Biology. 2014 ; Vol. 12, No. 9.
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