Analysis of aspen foliage exposed to multiple stresses: ozone, nitrogen deficiency and drought


Journal Article

Two field experiments were conducted to examine the impact of a foliar stress (ozone, O3), alone or in combination with a resource stress, on carbon gain of aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.). The first experiment involved nitrogen deficiency, and the second, drought stress. The patterns of change in leaf area, photosynthetic rate and carbon pain with leaf position from root to apex were altered by O3 alone. Net photosynthesis, and carboxylation capacity of older leaves decreased, and of younger leaves increased, in response to O3. Thus younger leaves partially compensated for the decreased photosynthetic capacity of older leaves. Physiological maturity and senescence were accelerated by O3. Whole plant carbon gain declined with O3 due to reductions in both leaf area and photosynthetic rate. Nitrogen deficiency alone decreased carbon gain via reductions in both leaf area and photosynthetic rate across leaf position. The effects of O3 and nitrogen deficiency together on both leaf area and photosynthetic rate were additive, Aspen seedlings compensated to O3 stress regardless of nitrogen level. Plant responses to both of these stresses may have been mediated by ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) content or activity, and thus indirectly by nitrogen content. In the second experiment, seedlings were subjected to drought during the first six weeks of exposure to O3 and were measured several weeks after termination of the drought treatment. Drought caused aspen seedlings to produce fewer and smaller leaves. After termination of drought, they produced larger new leaves, and net photosynthesis of most leaves was greater than in continuously well‐watered plants. In plants not exposed to O3, enhanced photosynthetic rate partially compensated for the smaller leaf area. O3 generally decreased leaf area and photosynthesis, and hence carbon gain. The effects of prior exposure to drought and O3 together were additive for whole‐plant photosynthetic rate, but less than additive for whole‐plant leaf area. Copyright © 1994, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors


Published Date

  • January 1, 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 127 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 579 - 589

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-8137

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-646X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1469-8137.1994.tb03977.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus