Leaf-level gas-exchange uniformity and photosynthetic capacity among loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) genotypes of contrasting inherent genetic variation.
Variation in leaf-level gas exchange among widely planted genetically improved loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) genotypes could impact stand-level water use, carbon assimilation, biomass production, C allocation, ecosystem sustainability and biogeochemical cycling under changing environmental conditions. We examined uniformity in leaf-level light-saturated photosynthesis (A(sat)), stomatal conductance (g(s)), and intrinsic water-use efficiency (A(sat)/g(s) or δ) among nine loblolly pine genotypes (selected individuals): three clones, three full-sib families and three half-sib families, during the early years of stand development (first 3 years), with each genetic group possessing varying amounts of inherent genetic variation. We also compared light- and CO(2)-response parameters between genotypes and examined the relationship between genotype productivity, gas exchange and photosynthetic capacity. Within full-sib, half-sib and clonal genotypes, the coefficient of variation (CV) for gas exchange showed no consistent pattern; the CV for g(s) and δ was similar within clonal (44.3-46.9 and 35.5-38.6%) and half-sib (41.0-49.3 and 36.8-40.9%) genotypes, while full-sibs showed somewhat higher CVs (46.9-56.0 and 40.1-45.4%). In contrast, the CVs for A(sat) were generally higher within clones. With the exception of δ, differences in gas exchange among genotypes were generally insignificant. Tree volume showed a significant positive correlation with A(sat) and δ, but the relationship varied by season. Individual-tree volume and genotype volume were positively correlated with needle dark respiration (R(d)). Our results suggest that uniformity in leaf-level physiological rates is not consistently related to the amount of genetic variation within a given genotype, and δ, A(sat) and R(d) were the leaf-level physiological parameters that were most consistently related to individual-tree and genotype productivity. An enhanced understanding of molecular and environmental factors that influence physiological variation within and between loblolly pine genotypes may improve assessments of genotype growth potential and sensitivity to global climate change.
Aspinwall, MJ; King, JS; McKeand, SE; Domec, J-C
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