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Increasing spring temperatures favor oak seed production in temperate areas

Abstract : The changes in reproductive phenology (i.e. timing of flowering and fruiting) observed in recent decades demonstrate that tree reproduction has already been altered by climate change. However, understanding the impact of these changes in reproductive success and fitness remains a major challenge for ecologists. We describe here a previously unreported phenomenon: a significant increase in the reproductive effort (seed production) of temperate oaks with increasing spring temperature, observed over the last decade. In contrast, no relationship was found between seed production and precipitation. This sensitivity of seed production to temperature was confirmed by a “space-for-time” substitution based on elevation gradients. Our findings suggest that global warming may enhanceoak reproductive effort in temperate ecosystems. Nevertheless, while fitness can be enhanced by higher levels of seed production, it also depends on the frequency and synchronization of mast seeding production, which may also be influenced by climate change.
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Thomas Caignard, Antoine Kremer, Cyril Firmat, Manuel Nicolas, Samuel Venner, et al.. Increasing spring temperatures favor oak seed production in temperate areas. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7 (1), pp.1-8. ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-09172-7⟩. ⟨hal-01595592⟩

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