The validity of optimal leaf traits modelled on environmental conditions

Bloomfield, Keith J., Prentice, I. Colin, Cernusak, Lucas A., Eamus, Derek, Medlyn, Belinda E., Rumman, Rizwana, Wright, Ian J., Boer, Matthias M., Cale, Peter, Cleverly, James, Egerton, John J.G., Ellsworth, David S., Evans, Bradley J., Hayes, Lucy S., Hutchinson, Michael F., Liddell, Michael J., Macfarlane, Craig, Meyer, Wayne S., Togashi, Henrique F., Wardlaw, Tim, Zhu, Lingling, and Atkin, Owen K. (2019) The validity of optimal leaf traits modelled on environmental conditions. New Phytologist, 221 (3). pp. 1409-1423.

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Abstract

The ratio of leaf intercellular to ambient CO2 (χ) is modulated by stomatal conductance (gs). These quantities link carbon (C) assimilation with transpiration, and along with photosynthetic capacities (Vcmax and Jmax) are required to model terrestrial C uptake. We use optimization criteria based on the growth environment to generate predicted values of photosynthetic and water‐use efficiency traits and test these against a unique dataset.

Leaf gas‐exchange parameters and carbon isotope discrimination were analysed in relation to local climate across a continental network of study sites. Sun‐exposed leaves of 50 species at seven sites were measured in contrasting seasons.

Values of χ predicted from growth temperature and vapour pressure deficit were closely correlated to ratios derived from C isotope (δ13C) measurements. Correlations were stronger in the growing season. Predicted values of photosynthetic traits, including carboxylation capacity (Vcmax), derived from δ13C, growth temperature and solar radiation, showed meaningful agreement with inferred values derived from gas‐exchange measurements. Between‐site differences in water‐use efficiency were, however, only weakly linked to the plant's growth environment and did not show seasonal variation.

These results support the general hypothesis that many key parameters required by Earth system models are adaptive and predictable from plants' growth environments.

Item ID: 57536
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: aridity, photosynthesis, stable isotopes, stomatal conductance (g(s)), temperature, water-use efficiency
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DP130101252, ARC CE140100008, ARC DP140101150
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 07:35
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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