Leaf-level photosynthetic capacity in lowland Amazonian and high-elevation Andean tropical moist forests of Peru

Bahar, Nur H.A., Ishida, F. Yoko, Weerasinghe, Lasantha K., Guerrieri, Rossella, O'Sullivan, Odhran S., Bloomfield, Keith J., Asner, Gregory P., Martin, Roberta E., Lloyd, Jon, Malhi, Yadvinder, Phillips, Oliver L., Meir, Patrick, Salinas, Norma, Cosio, Eric G., Domingues, Tomas F., Quesada, Carlos A., Sinca, Felipe, Escudero Vega, Alberto, Zuloaga Ccorimanya, Paola P., del Aguila-Pasquel, Jhon, Quispe Huaypar, Katherine, Cuba Torres, Israel, Butron Loayza, Rosalbina, Pelaez Tapia, Yulina, Huaman Ovalle, Judit, Long, Benedict M., Evans, John R., and Atkin, Owen K. (2017) Leaf-level photosynthetic capacity in lowland Amazonian and high-elevation Andean tropical moist forests of Peru. New Phytologist, 214 (3). pp. 1002-1018.

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We examined whether variations in photosynthetic capacity are linked to variations in the environment and/or associated leaf traits for tropical moist forests (TMFs) in the Andes/western Amazon regions of Peru.

We compared photosynthetic capacity (maximal rate of carboxylation of Rubisco (V-cmax), and the maximum rate of electron transport (J(max))), leaf mass, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) per unit leaf area (M-a, N-a and P-a, respectively), and chlorophyll from 210 species at 18 field sites along a 3300-m elevation gradient. Western blots were used to quantify the abundance of the CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco.

Area- and N-based rates of photosynthetic capacity at 25 degrees C were higher in upland than lowland TMFs, underpinned by greater investment of N in photosynthesis in high-elevation trees. Soil [P] and leaf Pa were key explanatory factors for models of area-based Vcmax and Jmax but did not account for variations in photosynthetic N-use efficiency. At any given N-a and P-a, the fraction of N allocated to photosynthesis was higher in upland than lowland species. For a small subset of lowland TMF trees examined, a substantial fraction of Rubisco was inactive.

These results highlight the importance of soil- and leaf-P in defining the photosynthetic capacity of TMFs, with variations in N allocation and Rubisco activation state further influencing photosynthetic rates and N-use efficiency of these critically important forests.

Item ID: 50601
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0028-646X
Keywords: carboxylation capacity, elevation, leaf traits, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), ribulose bisphosphate regeneration, temperature, tropical forests
Funders: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), Australian Research Council (ARC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Royal Society (RS), UK, British Academy (BA), Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), Malaysian Government (MG)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP0986823, ARC DP130101252, ARC CE140100008, ARC FT0991448, ARC FT110100457, NERC NE/C51621X/1, NERC NE/F002149/1, RS, BA and RAE Newton International Fellowship, MG Postgraduate Scholarship
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 10:21
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310806 Plant physiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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