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A Model of Stand Photosynthesis for the Wet Meadow Tundra at Barrow, Alaska

Miller, Philip C., Stoner, Wayne A., Tieszen, Larry L.
Ecology 1976 v.57 no.3 pp. 411-430
Carex aquatilis, Dupontia, Eriophorum, Salix, air, air temperature, canopy, carbon, carbon dioxide, cold, ecosystems, evaporation, heat, humidity, infrared radiation, leaf area index, leaf water potential, leaves, meadows, models, photosynthesis, primary productivity, research programs, soil respiration, solar radiation, stems, transpiration, tundra, vapors, vascular plants, water stress, water uptake, wind, Alaska
A model of radiation, air temperature, and vapor density in the vegetation canopy, plant water relations, and photosynthesis, developed in the primary production research program of the U.S. Tundra Biome, IBP, is described and results for the years 1970 through 1973 presented. The model calculates daily courses of direct and diffuse solar radiation; infra—red radiation; wind; air temperature and humidity; leaf temperatures; convectional and transpirational exchange by leaves, stems, and dead material; leaf H_2O content, leaf water potential; leaf resistance to H_2O loss; internal resistance to CO_2 diffusion; and net photosynthesis. Climate varied from year to year: 1970 and 1971 were similar, 1972 was relatively warm and dry, and 1973 was relatively cold and wet. Plant parameters were obtained for Carex aquatilis, Dupontia fischeri, Eriophorum angustifollium, and Salix pulchra. Leaf area indices varied by species and by year. Leaf areas of all species were lowest in 1973. Of the incoming solar radiation ° 20% is reflected back and 32%—53% absorbed by the canopy, increasing with leaf area index. In the canopy 5—10 times more heat is lost by convection than by evaporation. Total seasonal vascular plant CO_2 uptake ranged from 400—627 g CO_2 m_G⁽—2) (subscript G refers to ground). In 1971 cuvette estimates for total seasonal vascular plant CO² uptake were 602 while the model predicted 627. Individual species incorporated about 4 g CO_2 m_G⁽—2) day⁽—1) at most. The daily CO_2 incorporation was larger than the downward CO_2 flux from the atmosphere, implying that soil respiration is a source of CO_2 for the vascular plants. Photosynthesis increased with solar radiation, air and ground temperatures, and air vapor density and decreased with increasing infrared radiation for the sky and root resistance to water uptake. Factors increasing transpiration without directly affecting photosynthesis tend to decrease photosynthesis because of the effect on water stress. Net photosynthesis is higher at the top of the canopy, in spite of more favorable temperatures within the canopy, because of light limitation. Total accumulated carbon dioxide, after subtracting growth costs of leaves, becomes positive late in the season and is highest at the lower levels because of the longer duration of leaf area these levels. Photosynthesis seems adjusted to maximize carbon gain under the most frequent conditions but not under all conditions or extreme conditions.