Our group is studying plants responses to climate change factors such as elevated UV-B radiation, temperature and CO2. Currently, one of our main topic is to study combined effects of enhanced UV-B radiation and temperature on gender differences of fast growing Salix myrsinifolia (willows) and Populus tremula (European aspen).
Figure above: Aspen seedlings acclimated in a greenhouse before field experiment (Joensuu, 2012)
Our experimental setup in Botanical Garden of Joensuu (Eastern Finland) consists of 36 experimental plots (6 replicates for Control, UVA, UVB, T, UVA+T and UVB+T). Each frame is made of a metal post supporting an aluminum frame, and upon which IR heaters and UV filtered lamps were mounted. UV-radiation and Temperature were modulated to meet climatic conditions of the site and we aimed to increase UV-B by 32% while and Temperature by 1.5°C.
Willows seedlings (cuttings) were planted from 2009 to 2011. Our goal was to study for 3 years how growth, photosynthesis and phenolics in males and females of S. myrsinifolia were affected by climate change. In 2012, aspen seedlings (micropropagated) were planted. We will study how aspens growth, constitutive defense, rust frequency and fungal endophytes diversity were affected by enhanced UV-B radiation and temperature.