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Ecophysiological modelling of leaf level photosynthetic performance for three Mediterranean species with different growth forms

Markos, Nikos, Kyparissis, Aris
Functional plant biology 2011 v.38 no.4 pp. 314-326
Arbutus unedo, Quercus frainetto, acclimation, chlorophyll, gas exchange, leaves, meteorological parameters, models, photosynthesis, photosynthetically active radiation, plant growth, seasonal variation, shrubs, trees, water potential, water temperature
A leaf gross photosynthesis (A) model for three Mediterranean species from different functional groups (the evergreen sclerophyll Arbutus unedo L., the deciduous tree Quercus frainetto Ten. and the semi-deciduous shrub Phlomis fruticosa L.) has been developed through a 3-year seasonal study of gas exchange and plant ecophysiological parameters. The model estimates photosynthesis through four easily measured ecophysiological parameters (chlorophyll content, leaf mass per area (LMA), pre-dawn water potential, leaf temperature) and two meteorological parameters (PAR and average temperature of the 33-day period before measurement (T₃₃)), with a coefficient of determination r²=0.88 (P<0.001). The enhanced accuracy of the presented model may be ascribed to the incorporation of (i) water potential effects on A and (ii) temperature effects on A not only in the short term, but also in the long term (acclimation). Water potential and temperature effects may be considered especially important for species of Mediterranean ecosystems, where strong seasonal variation of these parameters often have a major role in plant growth and survival.