Seasonality of foliar respiration in two dominant plant species from the Arctic tundra: response to long-term warming and short-term temperature variability

TitleSeasonality of foliar respiration in two dominant plant species from the Arctic tundra: response to long-term warming and short-term temperature variability
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHeskel, Mary A., Bitterman Danielle, Atkin Owen K., Turnbull Matthew H., and Griffin Kevin L.
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Volume41
Pagination287
Date Published2014
ISSN1445-4408
KeywordsBetula nana, Eriophorum vaginatum, Kok effect, photosynthesis, seasonality
Abstract

Direct measurements of foliar carbon exchange through the growing season in Arctic species are limited, despite the need for accurate estimates of photosynthesis and respiration to characterise carbon cycling in the tundra. We examined seasonal variation in foliar photosynthesis and respiration (measured at 20°C) in two field-grown tundra species, Betula nana L. and Eriophorum vaginatum L., under ambient and long-term warming (LTW) conditions (+5°C), and the relationship of these fluxes to intraseasonal temperature variability. Species and seasonal timing drove most of the variation in photosynthetic parameters (e.g. gross photosynthesis (Agross)), respiration in the dark (Rdark) and light (Rlight), and foliar nitrogen concentration. LTW did not consistently influence fluxes through the season but reduced respiration in both species. Alongside the flatter respiratory response to measurement temperature in LTW leaves, this provided evidence of thermal acclimation. The inhibition of respiration by light increased by  40%, with Rlight?:?Rdark values of  0.8 at leaf out decreasing to  0.4 after 8 weeks. Though LTW had no effect on inhibition, the cross-taxa seasonal decline in Rlight?:?Rdark greatly reduced respiratory carbon loss. Values of Rlight?:?Agross decreased from  0.3 in both species to  0.15 (B. nana) and  0.05 (E. vaginatum), driven by decreases in respiratory rates, as photosynthetic rates remained stable. The influence of short-term temperature variability did not exhibit predictive trends for leaf gas exchange at a common temperature. These results underscore the influence of temperature on foliar carbon cycling, and the importance of respiration in controlling seasonal carbon exchange.

DOI10.1071/FP13137