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Irradiance, temperature and rainfall influence leaf dark respiration in woody plants: evidence from comparisons across 20 sites
- Wright, Ian J., Reich, Peter B., Atkin, Owen K., Lusk, Christopher H., Tjoelker, Mark G., Westoby, Mark
- The new phytologist 2006 v.169 no.2 pp. 309-319
- carbon, carbon dioxide, climate, climate change, leaf area, leaves, light intensity, longevity, models, nitrogen content, photosynthesis, rain, temperature, vegetation, woody plants
- • Leaf dark respiration (R) is one of the most fundamental physiological processes in plants and is a major component of terrestrial CO₂ input to the atmosphere. Still, it is unclear how predictably species vary in R along broad climate gradients. • Data for R and other key leaf traits were compiled for 208 woody species from 20 sites around the world. We quantified relationships between R and site climate, and climate‐related variation in relationships between R and other leaf traits. • Species at higher‐irradiance sites had higher mean R at a given leaf N concentration, specific leaf area (SLA), photosynthetic capacity (Aₘₐₛₛ) or leaf lifespan than species at lower‐irradiance sites. Species at lower‐rainfall sites had higher mean R at a given SLA or Aₘₐₛₛ than species at higher‐rainfall sites. On average, estimated field rates of R were higher at warmer sites, while no trend with site temperature was seen when R was adjusted to a standard measurement temperature. • Our findings should prove useful for modelling plant nutrient and carbon budgets, and for modelling vegetation shifts with climate change.