Light inhibition of leaf respiration as soil fertility declines along a post-glacial chronosequence in New Zealand: an analysis using the Kok method

Atkin, Owen K., Turnbull, Matthew H., Zaragoza-Castells, Joana, Fyllas, Nikolaos M., Lloyd, Jon, Meir, Patrick, and Griffin, Kevin L. (2013) Light inhibition of leaf respiration as soil fertility declines along a post-glacial chronosequence in New Zealand: an analysis using the Kok method. Plant and Soil, 367 (1-2). pp. 163-182.

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Abstract

Background and aims: Our study quantified variations leaf respiration in darkness (RD) and light (RL), and associated traits along the Franz Josef Glacier soil development chronosequence in New Zealand.

Methods: At six sites along the chronosequence (soil age: 6, 60, 150, 500, 12,000 and 120,000 years old), we measured rates of leaf RD, RL (using Kok method), light-saturated CO2 assimilation rates (A), leaf mass per unit area (MA), and concentrations of leaf nitrogen ([N]), phosphorus ([P]), soluble sugars and starch.

Results: The chronosequence was characterised by decreasing RD, RL and A, reduced [N] and [P] and increasing MA as soil age increased. Light inhibition of R occurred across the chronosequence (mean inhibition = 16 %), resulting in ratios of RL:A being lower than for RD:A. Importantly, the degree of light inhibition differed across the chronosequence, being lowest at young sites and highest at old sites. This resulted in RL:A ratios being relatively constant across the chronosequence, whereas RD:A ratios increased with increasing soil age. Log-log R-A-MA-[N] relationships remained constant along the chronosequence. By contrast, relationships linking rates of leaf R to [P] differed among leaves with low vs high [N]:[P] ratios. Slopes of log-log bivariate relationships linking RL to A, MA, [N] and [P] were steeper than that for RD.

Conclusions: Our findings have important implications for predictive models that seek to account for light inhibition of R, and for our understanding of how environmental gradients impact on leaf trait relationships.

Item ID: 28747
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: leaf functional traits, leaf respiration, light, leaf mass per unit area, nitrogen, phosphorus, photosynthesis, plasticity, soil development chronosequence
ISSN: 1573-5036
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: NERC NE/D01168X/1, NERC NE/F002149, ARC FT0991448, ARC DP0986823
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2013 05:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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