Acclimation of leaf hydraulic conductance and stomatal conductance of Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) to long-term growth in elevated CO(2) (free-air CO(2) enrichment) and N-fertilization.
We investigated how leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf)) of loblolly pine trees is influenced by soil nitrogen amendment (N) in stands subjected to ambient or elevated CO(2) concentrations (CO(2)(a) and CO(2)(e), respectively). We also examined how K(leaf) varies with changes in reference leaf water potential (Psi(leaf-ref)) and stomatal conductance (g(s-ref)) calculated at vapour pressure deficit, D of 1 kPa. We detected significant reductions in K(leaf) caused by N and CO(2)(e), but neither treatment affected pre-dawn or midday Psi(leaf). We also detected a significant CO(2)(e)-induced reduction in g(s-ref) and Psi(leaf-ref). Among treatments, the sensitivity of K(leaf) to Psi(leaf) was directly related to a reference K(leaf) (K(leaf-ref) computed at Psi(leaf-ref)). This liquid-phase response was reflected in a similar gas-phase response, with g(s) sensitivity to D proportional to g(s-ref). Because leaves represented a substantial component of the whole-tree conductance, reduction in K(leaf) under CO(2)(e) affected whole-tree water use by inducing a decline in g(s-ref). The consequences of the acclimation of leaves to the treatments were: (1) trees growing under CO(2)(e) controlled morning leaf water status less than CO(2)(a) trees resulting in a higher diurnal loss of K(leaf); (2) the effect of CO(2)(e) on g(s-ref) was manifested only during times of high soil moisture.
Domec, J-C; Palmroth, S; Ward, E; Maier, CA; Thérézien, M; Oren, R
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