Gas exchange and carbon metabolism in two Prosopis species (Fabaceae) from semiarid habitats: effects of elevated CO2, N supply, and N source.
Predicting future plant and ecosystem responses to elevated CO(2) also requires an understanding of the role of other factors, especially soil nitrogen. This is particularly challenging for global aridlands where total N and the relative amounts of nitrate and ammonia vary both spatially and seasonally. We measured gas exchange and primary and secondary C metabolites in seedlings of two dominant aridland shrub species (Prosopis flexuosa [S America] and P. glandulosa [N America]) grown at ambient (350 ppm) or elevated (650 ppm) CO(2) and nitrogen at two levels (low [0.8 mM] and high [8.0 mM]) and at either 1 : 1 or 3 : 1 nitrate to ammonia. Whereas elevated CO(2) increased assimilation rate, water use efficiency, and primary carbon metabolites in both species, these increases were strongly contingent upon nitrogen availability. Elevated CO(2) did not increase secondary metabolites (i.e., phenolics). For these important aridland species, the effects of elevated CO(2) are strongly influenced by nitrogen availability and to a lesser extent by the relative amounts of nitrate and ammonia supplied, which underscores the importance of both the amount and chemical composition of soil nitrogen in mediating the potential responses of seedling growth and establishment of aridland plants under future CO(2)-enriched atmospheres.
Causin, HF; Rufty, TW; Reynolds, JF
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