Elevated night-time temperatures increase growth in seedlings of two tropical pioneer tree species

Cheesman, Alexander W., and Winter, Klaus (2013) Elevated night-time temperatures increase growth in seedlings of two tropical pioneer tree species. New Phytologist, 197 (4). pp. 1185-1192.

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Abstract

Increased night-time temperatures, through their influence on dark respiration, have been implicated as a reason behind decreasing growth rates in tropical trees in the face of contemporary climate change. Seedlings of two neo-tropical tree species (Ficus insipida and Ochroma pyramidale) were grown in controlled-environment chambers at a constant daytime temperature (33°C) and a range of increasing night-time temperatures (22, 25, 28, 31°C) for between 39d and 54d. Temperature regimes were selected to represent a realistic baseline condition for lowland Panama, and a rise in night-time temperatures far in excess of those predicted for Central America in the coming decades. Experiments were complemented by an outdoor open-top chamber study in which night-time temperatures were elevated by 2.4°C above ambient. Increasing night-time temperatures resulted in >2-fold increase in biomass accumulation in growth-chamber studies despite an increase in leaf-level dark respiration. Similar trends were seen in open-top chambers, in which elevated night-time temperatures resulted in stimulation of growth. These findings challenge simplistic considerations of photosynthesis-directed growth, highlighting the role of temperature-dependent night-time processes, including respiration and leaf development as drivers of plant performance in the tropics.

Item ID: 35621
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: carbon balance, night-time warming, Panama, photosynthesis, respiration
ISSN: 1469-8137
Funders: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2014 15:54
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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