Ülo Niinemets

Ülo Niinemets
Estonian University of Life Sciences | EMU · Chair of Crop Science and Plant Biology

PhD

About

589
Publications
297,642
Reads
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48,178
Citations
Introduction
My main research interest is what determines vegetation distribution on the globe and how plants interact with and affect their environment. We currently specifically focus on plant acclimation and adaptation to abiotic and biotic stresses, and on plant-generated volatile organic compounds and their role in biosphere-atmosphere interactions.
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - October 2021
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Position
  • Chair
September 2007 - December 2007
Utrecht University
Position
  • F. C. Donders Chair
August 2006 - July 2007
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Position
  • G. P. Wilder Chair

Publications

Publications (589)
Article
Heat stress induces secondary metabolic changes in plants, channeling photosynthetic carbon and energy, away from primary metabolic processes, including, growth. Use of ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate) deaminase containing plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB) in conferring heat resistance in plants and the role of PGPB, in altering net car...
Article
Our power to predict the future relies on our knowledge of the past. Paleoproxies are a powerful tool for understanding environmental and ecological conditions and changes across different time periods. However, constructing a functioning paleoproxy requires a well-constrained and robustly tested model. This is challenging, especially if ecological...
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Plant functional traits directly affect ecosystem functions. At the species level, trait combinations depend on trade-offs representing different ecological strategies, but at the community level trait combinations are expected to be decoupled from these trade-offs because different strategies can facilitate co-existence within communities. A key r...
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The tundra is warming more rapidly than any other biome on Earth, and the potential ramifications are far-reaching because of global feedback effects between vegetation and climate. A better understanding of how environmental factors shape plant structure and function is crucial for predicting the consequences of environmental change for ecosystem...
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Plants have diverse leaf shapes that have evolved to adapt to the environments they have experienced over their evolutionary history. Leaf shape and leaf size can greatly influence the growth rate, competitive ability, and productivity of plants. However, researchers have long struggled to decide how to properly quantify the complexity of leaf shap...
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Many natural objects exhibit radial or axial symmetry in a single plane. However, a universal tool for simulating and fitting the shapes of such objects is lacking. Herein, we present an R package called ‘biogeom’ that simulates and fits many shapes found in nature. The package incorporates novel universal parametric equations that generate the pro...
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Many geometries of plant organs can be described by the Gielis equation, a polar coordinate equation extended from the superellipse equation, . Here, r is the polar radius corresponding to the polar angle φ; m is a positive integer that determines the number of angles of the Gielis curve when φ ∈ [0 to 2π); and the rest of the symbols are parameter...
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Background and scope Bacteria with plant growth-promoting characteristics (PGPB) are established components of biofertilizers. Certain PGPB can also contribute to improved plant tolerance of environmental and biotic stresses, but there is limited information on mechanisms of PGPB-induced increases in plant stress tolerance and associated changes in...
Article
• Mesophyll conductance (gm ) limits photosynthesis by restricting CO2 diffusion between the substomatal cavities and chloroplasts. While it is known that gm is determined by both leaf anatomical and biochemical traits, their relative contribution across plant functional types (PFTs) is still unclear. • We compiled a dataset of gm measurements and...
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Safeguarding Earth’s tree diversity is a conservation priority due to the importance of trees for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services such as carbon sequestration. Here, we improve the foundation for effective conservation of global tree diversity by analyzing a recently developed database of tree species covering 46,752 species. We q...
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Due to massive energetic investments in woody support structures, trees are subject to unique physiological, mechanical, and ecological pressures not experienced by herbaceous plants. Despite a wealth of studies exploring trait relationships across the entire plant kingdom, the dominant traits underpinning these unique aspects of tree form and func...
Article
Urban green spaces (UGSs) are important elements of urban landscapes. Woody vegetation is a key component of UGSs, providing many socio-ecological benefits such as habitat provision and human well-being. Knowing plant diversity and vegetation configuration that underpin urban ecosystem processes and functions is critical to maximize nature contribu...
Article
To date, assessing the adaptive measures to climate change effects on cropping systems have generally been based on data from field trials and crop models. This strategy can only explore a restricted number of options with a limited spatial extent. Therefore, we designed a questionnaire that incorporated both qualitative and quantitative aspects of...
Article
Desiccation-rehydration experiments have been employed over the years to evaluate desiccation tolerance of bryophytes (Bryophyta, Marchantiophyta, and Anthocerotophyta). Researchers have applied a spectrum of protocols to induce desiccation and subsequent rehydration, and a wide variety of techniques have been used to study desiccation-dependent ch...
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Heat stress is one of the most important abiotic stresses confronted by plants under global climate change. Plant exposure to abiotic or biotic stress can improve its tolerance to subsequent severe episodes of the same or different stress (stress priming), but so far there is limited comparative information about how pre-exposures to different abio...
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Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) is an airborne hormonal elicitor that induces a fast rise of emissions of characteristic stress marker compounds methanol and green leaf volatiles (GLV), and a longer-term release of volatile terpenoids, but there is limited information of how terpene emissions respond to MeJA in terpene-storing species. East-Indian lemongra...
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There is limited understanding of the genetic variability in Phytophthora infestans in the major potato cultivation region of north-western Russia, where potato is grown primarily by small households with limited chemical treatment of late blight. In this study, the mating type, sensitivity to metalaxyl, and genotype and population genetic diversit...
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Leaves of Mediterranean evergreen tree species experience a reduction in net CO2 assimilation (AN) and mesophyll conductance to CO2 (gm) during aging and senescence, which would be influenced by changes in leaf anatomical traits at cell level. Anatomical modifications can be accompanied by the dismantling of photosynthetic apparatus associated to l...
Preprint
Plants are frequently exposed to heat stress as a result of global warming. Heat stress leads to a series of physiological responses including stress volatile elicitation, but how heat stress-induced volatile cues affect the behavior of herbivores is poorly understood. In this study, the polyphagous herbivore Spodoptera litura (tobacco cutworm, TCW...
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Premise: Across species, main leaf vein density scales inversely with leaf area (A). Yet, minor vein density manifests no clear relationship with respect to A, despite having the potential to provide important insights into the trade-off among the investments in leaf mechanical support, hydraulics, and light interception. Methods: To examine thi...
Article
We explored relationships between particulate matter (PM) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) leaf concentrations, uptake rates and leaf surface functional traits in four Mediterranean evergreen trees (Chamaerops humilis, Citrus × aurantium, Magnolia grandiflora, and Quercus ilex) during a dry month. Pollutant leaf concentration at different...
Article
Premise: The phenomenon called "diminishing returns" refers to the scaling relationship between lamina mass (M) vs. lamina area (A) in many species, i.e., M ∝ Aα>1 , where αis the scaling exponent exceeding unity. Prior studies have focused on the scaling relationships between lamina dry mass (DM) and A, or between fresh mass (FM) and A. However,...
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Wetland soils are the greatest source of nitrous oxide (N2O), a critical greenhouse gas and ozone depleter released by microbes. Yet, microbial players and processes underlying the N2O emissions from wetland soils are poorly understood. Using in situ N2O measurements and by determining the structure and potential functional of microbial communities...
Article
Tropical plants are considered to be highly heat stress resistant, but heat waves of different frequency and duration induced by global climate change can exceed the plant heat stress tolerance in the tropics. To gain insight into the overall heat resistance, leaves of papaya were exposed to mild (37 and 41 °C), moderate (46 °C) and severe (49 °C)...
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Understanding how evolutionary history and the coordination between trait trade-off axes shape the drought tolerance of trees is crucial to predict forest dynamics under climate change. Here, we compiled traits related to drought tolerance and the fast-slow and stature-recruitment trade-off axes in 601 tropical woody species to explore their covari...
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Plant functional traits can predict community assembly and ecosystem functioning and are thus widely used in global models of vegetation dynamics and land–climate feedbacks. Still, we lack a global understanding of how land and climate affect plant traits. A previous global analysis of six traits observed two main axes of variation: (1) size variat...
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Riparian forests are known as hot spots of nitrogen cycling in landscapes. Climate warming speeds up the cycle. Here we present results from a multi-annual high temporal-frequency study of soil, stem, and ecosystem (eddy covariance) fluxes of N 2 O from a typical riparian forest in Europe. Hot moments (extreme events of N 2 O emission) lasted a qua...
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Domestication involves dramatic phenotypic and physiological diversifications due to successive selection by breeders toward high yield and quality. Although photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency (PNUE) is a major trait for understanding leaf nitrogen economy, it is unclear whether PNUE of cotton has been improved under domestication. Here, we inv...
Article
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Most trees emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) continuously throughout their life, but the rate of emission and spectrum of emitted VOCs become substantially altered when the trees experience stress. Despite this, models to predict the emissions of VOCs do not account for perturbations caused by biotic plant stress. Considering that such stresse...
Article
We assessed root phenolics and rhizosphere microbiomes of Populus cathayana females and males in the replicated 30-year-old plantations, including pure female plantations (PF), pure male plantations (PM), and mixed female and male plantations (MS) to reveal sex and neighbor effects, and associations between root phenolic metabolites and root-relate...
Article
The carbon (C) budgets of riparian forests are sensitive to climatic variability. Therefore, riparian forests are hot spots of C cycling in landscapes. Only a limited number of studies on continuous measurements of methane (CH4) fluxes from riparian forests is available. Here, we report continuous high-frequency soil and ecosystem (eddy-covariance;...
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We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of values of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 448 traits across 28,640 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxon descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of per...
Preprint
Full-text available
A bstract Due to massive energetic investments in woody support structures, trees are subject to unique physiological, mechanical, and ecological pressures not experienced by herbaceous plants. When considering trait relationships across the entire plant kingdom, plant trait frameworks typically must omit traits unique to large woody species, there...
Article
Full-text available
The increase in the cultivation area of cruciferous oilseed crops and the use of short crop rotation has resulted in the enhanced spread of several major pests in Northern latitudes. There is currently limited information about incidence and severity of Alternaria black spot disease (Alternaria brassicae) on the main oilseed crop, spring oilseed ra...
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The shape of leaf laminae exhibits considerable diversity and complexity that reflects adaptations to environmental factors such as ambient light and precipitation as well as phyletic legacy. Many leaves appear to be elliptical which may represent a ‘default’ developmental condition. However, whether their geometry truly conforms to the ellipse equ...
Article
Premise: Leaf mass (M) and lamina surface area (A) are important functional traits reported to obey a scaling relationship called "diminishing returns" (i.e., M ∝ Aα>1 ). Previous studies have focused primarily on eudicots and ignored whether the age of leaves affects the numerical value of the scaling exponent (i.e., α). Methods: The effect of...
Article
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Leaf functional traits and their covariation underlie plant ecological adaptations along environmental gradients, but there is limited information on the global covariation patterns of key leaf construction traits. To explore how leaf construction traits co‐vary across diverse climate and soil environmental conditions, we compiled a global dataset...
Article
The pathogen Erysiphe cruciferarum is an increasingly serious threat to cruciferous oilseed crops worldwide. In the present study, the severity of powdery mildew was evaluated on spring oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and five alternative oilseed crop species (B. juncea, B. nigra, Sinapis alba, Raphanus sativus, Eruca sativa). The main aim of the stu...
Article
Background and Aims In hierarchically reticulate venation patterns, smaller orders of veins form areoles in which stomata are located. This study aimed to quantify the spatial relationship among stomata at the areole level. Methods For each of 12 leaves of Michelia cavaleriei var. platypetala, we assumed that stomatal characteristics were symmetri...
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Secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) formed from biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) constitute a significant fraction of atmospheric particulate matter and have been recognized to significantly affect the climate and air quality. Atmospheric SOA particulate mass yields and chemical composition result from a complex mixture of oxidation produc...
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Ecological theory is built on trade-offs, where trait differences among species evolved as adaptations to different environments. Trade-offs are often assumed to be bidirectional, where opposite ends of a gradient in trait values confer advantages in different environments. However, unidirectional benefits could be widespread if extreme trait value...
Article
Due to the importance of Rubisco in the Biosphere, its kinetic parameters have been measured by different methodologies in a large number of studies over the last 60 years. These parameters are essential to characterize the natural diversity in the catalytic properties of the enzyme and they are also required for photosynthesis and cross scale crop...
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Persistent pollutants such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, musk fragrances, and dyes are frequently detected in different environmental compartments and negatively impact the environment and humans. Understanding the impacts of diffuse environmental pollutants on plants is still limited, especially at realistic environmental concentrations of conta...
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Persian walnut (Juglans regia), one of the essential nut crops, is affected by different diseases , including mite attacks which result in gall and erineum formation. As the proportion of leaf area covered by mite galls or erineum is typically relatively low, the impact on tree photosynthetic productivity is often considered minor, and no pest cont...
Article
Mesophyll conductance (gm) is a crucial leaf trait contributing to photosynthetic rate (AN). Plant domestication typically leads to an enhancement of AN that is often associated with profoundly anatomical modifications but it is unclear which of these structural alterations influence gm. We analyzed the implication of domestication on leaf anatomy...
Article
Leaf isoprene emission rate, I, decreases with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration with major implications for global change. There is a significant interspecific variability in [CO2]-responsiveness of I, but the extent of this variation is unknown and its reasons are not understood. We hypothesized that the magnitude of emission reduction ref...
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Stoichiometry of leaf macronutrients can provide insight into the tradeoffs between leaf structural and metabolic investments. Structural carbon (C) in cell walls is contained in lignin and polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectins). Much of leaf calcium (Ca) and a fraction of magnesium (Mg) were further bounded with cell wall pectins....
Article
Understanding drivers of success for alien species can inform on potential future invasions. Recent conceptual advances highlight that species may achieve invasiveness via performance along at least three distinct dimensions: 1) local abundance, 2) geographic range size, and 3) habitat breadth in naturalized distributions. Associations among these...
Article
Heatwaves are expected to become more frequent and directly exert major stress on plants. Warmer weather can also increase the frequency of biotic infestations. However, how biotic stress alters heat resistance and how interacting heat and biotic stresses alter volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions remain unclear. We studied how heat shock (45...
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This article summarizes the data of a survey of flowering plants in 80 sites in five European cities and urban agglomerations (Antwerp, Belgium; greater Paris, France; Poznan, Poland; Tartu, Estonia; and Zurich, Switzerland). Sampling sites were selected based on a double orthogonal gradient of size and connectivity and were urban green areas (e.g....
Article
Aim Here we examine the functional profile of regional tree species pools across the latitudinal distribution of Neotropical moist forests, and test trait–climate relationships among local communities. We expected opportunistic strategies (acquisitive traits, small seeds) to be overrepresented in species pools further from the equator, but also in...
Article
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Ozone (O3) entry into plant leaves depends on atmospheric O3 concentration, exposure time and openness of stomata. O3 negatively impacts photosynthesis rate (A) and might induce the release of reactive volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can quench O3, and thereby partly ameliorate O3 stress. Water stress reduces stomatal conductance (gs) and O3...
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Aim Plant functional traits summarize the main variability in plant form and function across taxa and biomes. We assess whether geographic range size, climatic niche size, and local abundance of plants can be predicted by sets of traits (trait syndromes) or are driven by single traits. Location Eurasia Methods Species distribution maps were extrac...