Responses of legume versus nonlegume tropical tree seedlings to elevated CO2 concentration

Cernusak, Lucas A., Winter, Klaus, Martínez, Carlos, Correa, Edwin, Aranda, Jorge, Garcia, Milton, Jaramillo, Carlos, and Turner, Benjamin L. (2011) Responses of legume versus nonlegume tropical tree seedlings to elevated CO2 concentration. Plant Physiology, 157 (1). pp. 372-385.

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Abstract

We investigated responses of growth, leaf gas exchange, carbon-isotope discrimination, and whole-plant water-use efficiency (WP) to elevated CO2 concentration ([CO2]) in seedlings of five leguminous and five nonleguminous tropical tree species. Plants were grown at CO2 partial pressures of 40 and 70 Pa. As a group, legumes did not differ from nonlegumes in growth response to elevated [CO2]. The mean ratio of final plant dry mass at elevated to ambient [CO2] (ME/MA) was 1.32 and 1.24 for legumes and nonlegumes, respectively. However, there was large variation in ME/MA among legume species (0.92–2.35), whereas nonlegumes varied much less (1.21–1.29). Variation among legume species in ME/MA was closely correlated with their capacity for nodule formation, as expressed by nodule mass ratio, the dry mass of nodules for a given plant dry mass. WP increased markedly in response to elevated [CO2] in all species. The ratio of intercellular to ambient CO2 partial pressures during photosynthesis remained approximately constant at ambient and elevated [CO2], as did carbon isotope discrimination, suggesting that WP should increase proportionally for a given increase in atmospheric [CO2]. These results suggest that tree legumes with a strong capacity for nodule formation could have a competitive advantage in tropical forests as atmospheric [CO2] rises and that the water-use efficiency of tropical tree species will increase under elevated [CO2].

Item ID: 30285
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1532-2548
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2013 09:33
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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