Out of the darkness: predicting rates of respiration of illuminated leaves along nutrient gradients

Mangrove leaf

Description

This project sought to establish whether there are systematic differences in light inhibition among species, and how phosphorus limitations and diurnal variations in temperature impact on leaf respiration.

Leaf respiration plays a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate and ecosystem functioning. Although we know that leaf respiration is inhibited by light (by up to 80%), we are currently unable to predict variations in light inhibition. In this ARC funded project (2009-2012), we combined laboratory and field observations to establish whether there are systematic differences in light inhibition among species, and how phosphorus limitations and diurnal variations in temperature impact on leaf respiration. Field work was being conducted in a wide range of contrasting forest environments around the world (Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and South America).

A crucial goal of the project was development of new modelling frameworks that will facilitate incorporation of climate- and nutrient-dependent variations in day- and night-time leaf respiration into global- and ecosystem-level models.  While we have some way to go before we fully realize this goal, the project has to date yielded several publications (see below), with further manuscripts in preparation.

Student projects that take build on the outcome of the project are welcome - if you have an interest in this area, contact Owen Atkin.

Publications:

  • Weerasinghe, L.K., Creek, D., Crous, K.Y., Xiang, S., Liddell, M.J., Turnbull, M.H. and Atkin, O.K. (2014). Canopy position affects the relationships between leaf respiration and associated traits in a tropical rainforest in Far North Queensland.  Tree Physiology In Press (doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpu016)
  • Heskel, M.A., Greaves, H., Turnbull, M.T., O’Sullivan, O.S., Shaver, G., Griffin, K.L. and Atkin, O.K. (2014). Thermal acclimation of shoot respiration in an Arctic woody plant species subjected to 22 years of warming and altered nutrient supply.  Global Change Biology 20: 2618–2630
  • Ayub, G., Zaragoza-Castells, J., Griffin, K.L. and Atkin, O.K. (2014) Leaf respiration in darkness and in the light under pre-industrial, current and elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  Plant Science 226: 120-130.
  • Heskel, M.A., Bitterman, D., Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H. and Griffin, K.L. (2014).  Seasonality of foliar respiration in two dominant plant species from the arctic Tundra: response to long-term warming and short-term temperature variability.  Functional Plant Biology  41: 287-300
  • Heskel, M.A., Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H. and Griffin, K.L. (2013).  Bringing the Kok effect to light: Integrating daytime respiration and net ecosystem exchange.  Ecosphere 4(8): 1-14.
  • Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H., Zaragoza-Castells, J, Fyllas, N., Lloyd, J., Meir, P. and Kevin L. Griffin (2013).  Light inhibition of leaf respiration as soil fertility declines along a post-glacial chronosequence in New Zealand: an analysis using the Kok method.  Plant and Soil 367: 163–182. 
  • Kornfeld, A., Atkin, O.K., Griffin, K.L., Horton, T.W., Yakir, D. and Turnbull, M.H. (2013).  Modulation of respiratory metabolism in response to nutrient changes along a soil chronosequence. Plant Cell and Environment 36: 1120-1134. 
  • Xiang, S., Reich, P.B., Sun, S. and Atkin, O.K. (2013) Contrasting leaf trait scaling relationships in tropical and temperate wet forest species.  Functional Ecology 27: 520-532.
  • Heskel, M.A., Anderson, O.R., Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H. and Griffin, K.L. (2012).  Leaf- and cell-level carbon cycling responses to a nitrogen and phosphorus gradient in two Arctic tundra species.  American Journal of Botany 99: 1702-1714.
  • Weerasinghe, L.K., Creek, D., Crous, K.Y., Xiang, S., Liddell, M.J., Turnbull, M.H. and Atkin, O.K. (2014). Canopy position affects the relationships between leaf respiration and associated traits in a tropical rainforest in Far North Queensland.  Tree Physiology In Press (doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpu016)
  • Heskel, M.A., Greaves, H., Turnbull, M.T., O’Sullivan, O.S., Shaver, G., Griffin, K.L. and Atkin, O.K. (2014). Thermal acclimation of shoot respiration in an Arctic woody plant species subjected to 22 years of warming and altered nutrient supply.  Global Change Biology 20: 2618–2630
  • Ayub, G., Zaragoza-Castells, J., Griffin, K.L. and Atkin, O.K. (2014) Leaf respiration in darkness and in the light under pre-industrial, current and elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  Plant Science 226: 120-130.
  • Heskel, M.A., Bitterman, D., Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H. and Griffin, K.L. (2014).  Seasonality of foliar respiration in two dominant plant species from the arctic Tundra: response to long-term warming and short-term temperature variability.  Functional Plant Biology  41: 287-300
  • Heskel, M.A., Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H. and Griffin, K.L. (2013).  Bringing the Kok effect to light: Integrating daytime respiration and net ecosystem exchange.  Ecosphere 4(8): 1-14.
  • Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H., Zaragoza-Castells, J, Fyllas, N., Lloyd, J., Meir, P. and Kevin L. Griffin (2013).  Light inhibition of leaf respiration as soil fertility declines along a post-glacial chronosequence in New Zealand: an analysis using the Kok method.  Plant and Soil 367: 163–182. 
  • Kornfeld, A., Atkin, O.K., Griffin, K.L., Horton, T.W., Yakir, D. and Turnbull, M.H. (2013).  Modulation of respiratory metabolism in response to nutrient changes along a soil chronosequence. Plant Cell and Environment 36: 1120-1134. 
  • Xiang, S., Reich, P.B., Sun, S. and Atkin, O.K. (2013) Contrasting leaf trait scaling relationships in tropical and temperate wet forest species.  Functional Ecology 27: 520-532.
  • Heskel, M.A., Anderson, O.R., Atkin, O.K., Turnbull, M.H. and Griffin, K.L. (2012).  Leaf- and cell-level carbon cycling responses to a nitrogen and phosphorus gradient in two Arctic tundra species.  American Journal of Botany 99: 1702-1714.
  • Crous, K.Y., Zaragoza-Castells, J., Ellsworth, D., Duursma, R.A., Löw, M., Tissue, D.T., and Atkin, O.K. (2012).  Light inhibition of leaf respiration in field-grown Eucalyptus saligna in whole-tree chambers under elevated atmospheric CO2 and summer drought. Plant Cell and Environment 35: 966-976.

 

Partnerships

This work was conducted in collaboration with: Dr Odhran O'Sullivan (now in the UK), Dr Kristine Crous (now at UWS, Richmond, NSW), Professor Matthew Turnbull (Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ), Professor Patrick Meir (Edinburgh, UK), Professor Jon Lloyd (Imperial College, UK) and Professor Kevin Griffin (Columbia, New York, USA). This work was being funded by an ARC Discovery Grant (DP0986823).

Updated:  28 May 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB