Photosynthesis and respiration rates depend on leaf and root morphology and nitrogen concentration in nine boreal tree species differing in relative growth rate

P. B. Reich, M. B. Walters, M. G. Tjoelker, Dirk Vanderklein, C. Buschena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

339 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. To test several hypotheses about acclimation and adaptation of photosynthesis and respiration to differing light conditions, we investigated the interspecific relationships between leaf and root metabolism, chemistry and morphology in high and low light conditions for young seedlings of nine boreal tree species that differ in relative growth rate (RGR). 2. Light-saturated net photosynthesis (A(sat)), whole-plant nitrogen (N) uptake rates, leaf and root respiration and morphology, and RGR all varied in parallel among the nine species when grown in both 5% and 25% of full sunlight. RGR, A(sat), leaf and root respiration (R(d)), and N uptake rate per unit root mass or length differed significantly among species, ranking (from high to low): Populus, Betula and Larix spp. (all deciduous) and then to five evergreen conifers (Pinus, Picea and Thuja spp.), which were generally comparable in these measures. 3. A(sat), leaf and root R(d) and N uptake rates were all correlated (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9) with species traits, such as seed mass, leaf life span and shade-tolerance rankings. Massbased A(sat) was greater in conifer seedlings raised in low than high light. In contrast, area-based A(sat) was higher for plants grown in high than low light, especially in the deciduous species. Once adjusted for differences in plant mass, leaf or root respiration rates did not differ for plants grown in low vs high light. 4. Interspecific variation in RGR was positively correlated (r ≃ 0.9) with rates of photosynthesis, respiration and N uptake. Leaf photosynthesis and respiration rates were correlated to specific leaf area and leaf N concentrations (r ≃ 0.9). Root respiration rates, N uptake rates, specific root length (root length per root dry mass) and root N concentrations were all highly correlated with each other (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9). These data suggest a close coupling of tissue-level metabolism, chemistry and structure with whole-plant performance and species ecophysiological and life-history traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-405
Number of pages11
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jul 1998

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photosynthesis
respiration
nitrogen
leaves
uptake mechanisms
conifers
ranking
coniferous tree
chemistry
rate
metabolism
Thuja
seedling
shade tolerance
Larix
interspecific variation
seedlings
Populus
life history trait
Betula

Keywords

  • Light
  • Net CO exchange
  • Plant traits
  • Relative growth rate
  • Shade tolerance

Cite this

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title = "Photosynthesis and respiration rates depend on leaf and root morphology and nitrogen concentration in nine boreal tree species differing in relative growth rate",
abstract = "1. To test several hypotheses about acclimation and adaptation of photosynthesis and respiration to differing light conditions, we investigated the interspecific relationships between leaf and root metabolism, chemistry and morphology in high and low light conditions for young seedlings of nine boreal tree species that differ in relative growth rate (RGR). 2. Light-saturated net photosynthesis (A(sat)), whole-plant nitrogen (N) uptake rates, leaf and root respiration and morphology, and RGR all varied in parallel among the nine species when grown in both 5{\%} and 25{\%} of full sunlight. RGR, A(sat), leaf and root respiration (R(d)), and N uptake rate per unit root mass or length differed significantly among species, ranking (from high to low): Populus, Betula and Larix spp. (all deciduous) and then to five evergreen conifers (Pinus, Picea and Thuja spp.), which were generally comparable in these measures. 3. A(sat), leaf and root R(d) and N uptake rates were all correlated (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9) with species traits, such as seed mass, leaf life span and shade-tolerance rankings. Massbased A(sat) was greater in conifer seedlings raised in low than high light. In contrast, area-based A(sat) was higher for plants grown in high than low light, especially in the deciduous species. Once adjusted for differences in plant mass, leaf or root respiration rates did not differ for plants grown in low vs high light. 4. Interspecific variation in RGR was positively correlated (r ≃ 0.9) with rates of photosynthesis, respiration and N uptake. Leaf photosynthesis and respiration rates were correlated to specific leaf area and leaf N concentrations (r ≃ 0.9). Root respiration rates, N uptake rates, specific root length (root length per root dry mass) and root N concentrations were all highly correlated with each other (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9). These data suggest a close coupling of tissue-level metabolism, chemistry and structure with whole-plant performance and species ecophysiological and life-history traits.",
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Photosynthesis and respiration rates depend on leaf and root morphology and nitrogen concentration in nine boreal tree species differing in relative growth rate. / Reich, P. B.; Walters, M. B.; Tjoelker, M. G.; Vanderklein, Dirk; Buschena, C.

In: Functional Ecology, Vol. 12, No. 3, 22.07.1998, p. 395-405.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Photosynthesis and respiration rates depend on leaf and root morphology and nitrogen concentration in nine boreal tree species differing in relative growth rate

AU - Reich, P. B.

AU - Walters, M. B.

AU - Tjoelker, M. G.

AU - Vanderklein, Dirk

AU - Buschena, C.

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N2 - 1. To test several hypotheses about acclimation and adaptation of photosynthesis and respiration to differing light conditions, we investigated the interspecific relationships between leaf and root metabolism, chemistry and morphology in high and low light conditions for young seedlings of nine boreal tree species that differ in relative growth rate (RGR). 2. Light-saturated net photosynthesis (A(sat)), whole-plant nitrogen (N) uptake rates, leaf and root respiration and morphology, and RGR all varied in parallel among the nine species when grown in both 5% and 25% of full sunlight. RGR, A(sat), leaf and root respiration (R(d)), and N uptake rate per unit root mass or length differed significantly among species, ranking (from high to low): Populus, Betula and Larix spp. (all deciduous) and then to five evergreen conifers (Pinus, Picea and Thuja spp.), which were generally comparable in these measures. 3. A(sat), leaf and root R(d) and N uptake rates were all correlated (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9) with species traits, such as seed mass, leaf life span and shade-tolerance rankings. Massbased A(sat) was greater in conifer seedlings raised in low than high light. In contrast, area-based A(sat) was higher for plants grown in high than low light, especially in the deciduous species. Once adjusted for differences in plant mass, leaf or root respiration rates did not differ for plants grown in low vs high light. 4. Interspecific variation in RGR was positively correlated (r ≃ 0.9) with rates of photosynthesis, respiration and N uptake. Leaf photosynthesis and respiration rates were correlated to specific leaf area and leaf N concentrations (r ≃ 0.9). Root respiration rates, N uptake rates, specific root length (root length per root dry mass) and root N concentrations were all highly correlated with each other (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9). These data suggest a close coupling of tissue-level metabolism, chemistry and structure with whole-plant performance and species ecophysiological and life-history traits.

AB - 1. To test several hypotheses about acclimation and adaptation of photosynthesis and respiration to differing light conditions, we investigated the interspecific relationships between leaf and root metabolism, chemistry and morphology in high and low light conditions for young seedlings of nine boreal tree species that differ in relative growth rate (RGR). 2. Light-saturated net photosynthesis (A(sat)), whole-plant nitrogen (N) uptake rates, leaf and root respiration and morphology, and RGR all varied in parallel among the nine species when grown in both 5% and 25% of full sunlight. RGR, A(sat), leaf and root respiration (R(d)), and N uptake rate per unit root mass or length differed significantly among species, ranking (from high to low): Populus, Betula and Larix spp. (all deciduous) and then to five evergreen conifers (Pinus, Picea and Thuja spp.), which were generally comparable in these measures. 3. A(sat), leaf and root R(d) and N uptake rates were all correlated (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9) with species traits, such as seed mass, leaf life span and shade-tolerance rankings. Massbased A(sat) was greater in conifer seedlings raised in low than high light. In contrast, area-based A(sat) was higher for plants grown in high than low light, especially in the deciduous species. Once adjusted for differences in plant mass, leaf or root respiration rates did not differ for plants grown in low vs high light. 4. Interspecific variation in RGR was positively correlated (r ≃ 0.9) with rates of photosynthesis, respiration and N uptake. Leaf photosynthesis and respiration rates were correlated to specific leaf area and leaf N concentrations (r ≃ 0.9). Root respiration rates, N uptake rates, specific root length (root length per root dry mass) and root N concentrations were all highly correlated with each other (r ≃ 0.8 to 0.9). These data suggest a close coupling of tissue-level metabolism, chemistry and structure with whole-plant performance and species ecophysiological and life-history traits.

KW - Light

KW - Net CO exchange

KW - Plant traits

KW - Relative growth rate

KW - Shade tolerance

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U2 - 10.1046/j.1365-2435.1998.00209.x

DO - 10.1046/j.1365-2435.1998.00209.x

M3 - Article

VL - 12

SP - 395

EP - 405

JO - Functional Ecology

JF - Functional Ecology

SN - 0269-8463

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