FACE facts hold for multiple generations; Evidence from natural CO2 springs (Global Change Biol)

Assessing the effect of rising CO2 concentrations on plant growth and physiology traits is crucial in order to determine how ecosystems and crop production systems will perform in future climates.  Such assessments have been made with free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments, which have provided a wealth of data on plant responses to changes in atmospheric CO2.  However, it remains unclear how accurately data from single generation FACE studies predicts long-term adaptation to high CO2.  Saban et al. obtained data for physiological parameters from published studies for plants surrounding natural CO2 springs, and performed a comprehensive meta-analysis.  For plants near CO2 springs, eight of the nine traits assessed showed the same direction and an equivalent magnitude of change as plants from FACE experiments.  This indicates that FACE experiments are capable of predicting long-term adaptation to high CO2 through the analysis of a single generation.  The authors also discuss how plants near natural CO2 springs could be further studied to gain insight into the mechanisms of plant responses to high CO2.  (Summary by Mike Page) Glob Change Biol 10.1111/gcb.14437