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Stomatal CO2 responsiveness and photosynthetic capacity of tropical woody species in relation to taxonomy and functional traits

Journal article
Authors Thomas Berg Hasper
Mirindi Eric Dusenge
Friederike Breuer
Félicien K. Uwizeye
Göran Wallin
Johan Uddling
Published in Oecologia
Volume 184
Issue 1
Pages 43-57
ISSN 0029-8549
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 43-57
Language en
Keywords Carbon dioxide, Leaf traits, Stomatal patterning, Transpiration, Tropical trees
Subject categories Botany, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology


© 2017 The Author(s)Stomatal CO2 responsiveness and photosynthetic capacity vary greatly among plant species, but the factors controlling these physiological leaf traits are often poorly understood. To explore if these traits are linked to taxonomic group identity and/or to other plant functional traits, we investigated the short-term stomatal CO2 responses and the maximum rates of photosynthetic carboxylation (Vcmax) and electron transport (Jmax) in an evolutionary broad range of tropical woody plant species. The study included 21 species representing four major seed plant taxa: gymnosperms, monocots, rosids and asterids. We found that stomatal closure responses to increased CO2 were stronger in angiosperms than in gymnosperms, and in monocots compared to dicots. Stomatal CO2 responsiveness was not significantly related to any of the other functional traits investigated, while a parameter describing the relationship between photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in combined leaf gas exchange models (g1) was related to leaf area-specific plant hydraulic conductance. For photosynthesis, we found that the interspecific variation in Vcmax and Jmax was related to within leaf nitrogen (N) allocation rather than to area-based total leaf N content. Within-leaf N allocation and water use were strongly co-ordinated (r2 = 0.67), such that species with high fractional N investments into compounds maximizing photosynthetic capacity also had high stomatal conductance. We conclude that while stomatal CO2 responsiveness of tropical woody species seems poorly related to other plant functional traits, photosynthetic capacity is linked to fractional within-leaf N allocation rather than total leaf N content and is closely co-ordinated with leaf water use.

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