Tropospheric ozone concentrations are increasing, which may result in elevated background concentrations at rural high-altitude sites. In this study simulated upland grassland communities containing seven species were exposed to ozone treatments in solardomes for 12 weeks in each of two consecutive summers. Ozone profiles, based on future ozone predictions, were of elevated background concentrations, episodic peaks of ozone and a combination of the two. During the winter between the two exposures the communities were kept outdoors in ambient air. Whereas previous studies have demonstrated that peaks of ozone cause detrimental effects to vegetation, this study shows that for simulated grassland communities an increase in background ozone concentration in the absence of peaks of ozone also corresponded with increased senescence. In many cases senescence was further increased when peaks of ozone were also present. The species used showed no acclimation to ozone and the same relationship between senescence and ozone dose occurred in both years of the study. A decrease in cumulative biomass was demonstrated for Anthoxanthum odoratum, which contributed to a decrease in total community biomass and grass:forb ratio. These results indicate that current and future ozone concentrations could cause detrimental effects on growth and vitality of natural grassland communities and that for some species the consequences of increased background ozone concentration are as severe as that of increased peaks.\ud \u
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