Global warming, a consequence of climate change, alters rice-paddy ecosystems, especially through the changes of both growth rate of plants and the occurrences of pests, and affects both rice crop production and biodiversity. In this study, factors related to the germination temperatures of 80 weed species in paddy fields were analyzed to elucidate the effect of warming on morphological (leaf size), phenological (germination time), and population (distribution) responses. A self-organizing map (SOM) was used to classify the weed species on the basis of 5 factors related to germination temperature: the minimum, maximum, and optimum temperatures and the minimum and maximum optimal range. Climate data for the Korean Peninsula during 4 different decades (1990s, 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s) were obtained from a regional climate change model following the A1B emission scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Changes in the germination time and range of potential habitable areas for the weed species were estimated on the basis of the patterns of the SOM. The species associated with relatively lower germination temperatures tended to have smaller leaves, shorter stems, and earlier flowering and germination times than the species associated with higher germination temperature. The potential germination area increased progressively with rising temperature. The degree of potential increase in germination area was the greatest in the 2080s when the weeds could germinate in most of the southern Korean Peninsula. These results suggest that studying the patterns of germination temperature through SOM could provide necessary information for characterizing the germination of weeds on the basis of various characteristics (e.g., morphology, phenology, and distribution) and would be useful for maintaining agricultural productivity and agroecosystem biodiversity under global warming.
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