Conifers, angiosperm trees, and lianas: growth, whole-plant water and nitrogen use efficiency, and stable isotope composition (delta C-13 and delta O-18) of seedlings grown in a tropical environment

Cernusak, Lucas A., Winter, Klaus, Aranda, Jorge, and Turner, Benjamin L. (2008) Conifers, angiosperm trees, and lianas: growth, whole-plant water and nitrogen use efficiency, and stable isotope composition (delta C-13 and delta O-18) of seedlings grown in a tropical environment. Plant Physiology, 148 (1). pp. 642-659.

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Abstract

Seedlings of several species of gymnosperm trees, angiosperm trees, and angiosperm lianas were grown under tropical field conditions in the Republic of Panama; physiological processes controlling plant C and water fluxes were assessed across this functionally diverse range of species. Relative growth rate, r, was primarily controlled by the ratio of leaf area to plant mass, of which specific leaf area was a key component. Instantaneous photosynthesis, when expressed on a leaf-mass basis, explained 69% of variation in r (P < 0.0001, n = 94). Mean r of angiosperms was significantly higher than that of the gymnosperms; within angiosperms, mean r of lianas was higher than that of trees. Whole-plant nitrogen use efficiency was also significantly higher in angiosperm than in gymnosperm species, and was primarily controlled by the rate of photosynthesis for a given amount of leaf nitrogen. Whole-plant water use efficiency, TEc, varied significantly among species, and was primarily controlled by ci/ca, the ratio of intercellular to ambient CO2 partial pressures during photosynthesis. Instantaneous measurements of ci/ca explained 51% of variation in TEc (P < 0.0001, n = 94). Whole-plant 13C discrimination also varied significantly as a function of ci/ca (R2 = 0.57, P < 0.0001, n = 94), and was, accordingly, a good predictor of TEc. The 18O enrichment of stem dry matter was primarily controlled by the predicted 18O enrichment of evaporative sites within leaves (R2 = 0.61, P < 0.0001, n = 94), with some residual variation explained by mean transpiration rate. Measurements of carbon and oxygen stable isotope ratios could provide a useful means of parameterizing physiological models of tropical forest trees.

Item ID: 30298
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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