Seedlings display high trait variability during early stages of development

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Using a manipulative greenhouse experiment, we investigated trait variation during early stages of seedling development in seven dominant perennial plant species in the western United States. We examined variability in key trait values (i.e. SLA, root:shoot ratio (RSR), specific root length (SRL) and root dry matter content (RDMC)) of 20- to 62-day-old seedlings grown under low and high levels of water availability. We also compared these to compiled trait databases to assess how representative these readily available data sources are of seedling trait values.

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