J Plant Ecol ›› 2009, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (4): 207-216.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtp025

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Leaf photosynthesis and simulated carbon budget of Gentiana straminea from a decade-long warming experiment

Haihua Shen1,*, Julia A. Klein2, Xinquan Zhao3 and Yanhong Tang1   

  1. 1 Environmental Biology Division, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Onogawa 16-2, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8506, Japan; 2 Department of Forest, Rangeland & Watershed Stewardship, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA; 3 Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining, Qinghai, China
  • Published:2009-11-30
  • Contact: Shen, Haihua

Abstract: Aims Alpine ecosystems may experience larger temperature increases due to global warming as compared with lowland ecosystems. Information on physiological adjustment of alpine plants to temperature changes can provide insights into our understanding how these plants are responding to current and future warming. We tested the hypothesis that alpine plants would exhibit acclimation in photosynthesis and respiration under long-term elevated temperature, and the acclimation may relatively increase leaf carbon gain under warming conditions.
Methods Open-top chambers (OTCs) were set up for a period of 11 years to artificially increase the temperature in an alpine meadow ecosystem. We measured leaf photosynthesis and dark respiration under different light, temperature and ambient CO2 concentrations for Gentiana straminea, a species widely distributed on the Tibetan Plateau. Maximum rates of the photosynthetic electron transport (J max), RuBP carboxylation (V c max) and temperature sensitivity of respiration Q 10 were obtained from the measurements. We further estimated the leaf carbon budget of G. straminea using the physiological parameters and environmental variables obtained in the study.
Important findings1)?The OTCs consistently elevated the daily mean air temperature by ~1.6°C and soil temperature by ~0.5°C during the growing season. 2)?Despite the small difference in the temperature environment, there was strong tendency in the temperature acclimation of photosynthesis. The estimated temperature optimum of light-saturated photosynthetic CO2 uptake (A max) shifted ~1°C higher from the plants under the ambient regime to those under the OTCs warming regime, and the A max was significantly lower in the warming-acclimated leaves than the leaves outside the OTCs. 3)?Temperature acclimation of respiration was large and significant: the dark respiration rates of leaves developed in the warming regime were significantly lower than leaves from the ambient environments. 4)?The simulated net leaf carbon gain was significantly lower in the in situ leaves under the OTCs warming regime than under the ambient open regime. However, in comparison with the assumed non-acclimation leaves, the in situ warming-acclimated leaves exhibited significantly higher net leaf carbon gain. 5)?The results suggest that there was a strong and significant temperature acclimation in physiology of G. straminea in response to long-term warming, and the physiological acclimation can reduce the decrease of leaf carbon gain, i.e. increase relatively leaf carbon gain under the warming condition in the alpine species.

Key words: alpine plant, acclimation, experimental warming, open-top chamber, photosynthesis, temperature

摘要:
Aims Alpine ecosystems may experience larger temperature increases due to global warming as compared with lowland ecosystems. Information on physiological adjustment of alpine plants to temperature changes can provide insights into our understanding how these plants are responding to current and future warming. We tested the hypothesis that alpine plants would exhibit acclimation in photosynthesis and respiration under long-term elevated temperature, and the acclimation may relatively increase leaf carbon gain under warming conditions.
Methods Open-top chambers (OTCs) were set up for a period of 11 years to artificially increase the temperature in an alpine meadow ecosystem. We measured leaf photosynthesis and dark respiration under different light, temperature and ambient CO2 concentrations for Gentiana straminea, a species widely distributed on the Tibetan Plateau. Maximum rates of the photosynthetic electron transport (J max), RuBP carboxylation (V c max) and temperature sensitivity of respiration Q 10 were obtained from the measurements. We further estimated the leaf carbon budget of G. straminea using the physiological parameters and environmental variables obtained in the study.
Important findings1)?The OTCs consistently elevated the daily mean air temperature by ~1.6°C and soil temperature by ~0.5°C during the growing season. 2)?Despite the small difference in the temperature environment, there was strong tendency in the temperature acclimation of photosynthesis. The estimated temperature optimum of light-saturated photosynthetic CO2 uptake (A max) shifted ~1°C higher from the plants under the ambient regime to those under the OTCs warming regime, and the A max was significantly lower in the warming-acclimated leaves than the leaves outside the OTCs. 3)?Temperature acclimation of respiration was large and significant: the dark respiration rates of leaves developed in the warming regime were significantly lower than leaves from the ambient environments. 4)?The simulated net leaf carbon gain was significantly lower in the in situ leaves under the OTCs warming regime than under the ambient open regime. However, in comparison with the assumed non-acclimation leaves, the in situ warming-acclimated leaves exhibited significantly higher net leaf carbon gain. 5)?The results suggest that there was a strong and significant temperature acclimation in physiology of G. straminea in response to long-term warming, and the physiological acclimation can reduce the decrease of leaf carbon gain, i.e. increase relatively leaf carbon gain under the warming condition in the alpine species.