ARC Future Fellowship - impacts of climate change on plant respiration

From 2009-2013, Owen Atkin held an ARC Future Fellowship to invesigate mitochondrial and intact tissue respiratory responses to drought and global warming scenarios.  The research led to several papers (see below), with many of those studies forming the basis of future work within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (2014-2021). 


  • Gauthier, P.P.G., Crous, K.Y., Ayub, G., Duan, H., Weerasinghe, K.W.L. K. Ellsworth, D.S., Tissue, D.T., Evans J.R., and Atkin O.K. (2014).  Drought increases heat tolerance of leaf respiration in Eucalyptus globulus saplings grown under ambient and elevated atmospheric [CO2] and temperature. Journal of Experimental Botany In Press (accepted August 7th 2014)
  • 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
  • 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. 
  • Huntingford, C., Zelazowski, P., Galbraith, D., Mercado, L.M., Sitch, S., Fisher, R., Lomas, M., Walker, A., Jones, C.D., Booth, B.B.B., Malhi, Y., Hemming, D., Kay, G., Good, P., Lewis, S., Phillips, O.L., Atkin, O.K., Lloyd, J., Gloor,, M., Zaragoza-Castells, J. Meir, P., Betts, R., Harris, P.P., Nobre, C., Marengo, J. and Cox, P.M. (2013). Simulated resilience of tropical rainforest to CO2–induced climate change.  Nature Geoscience 6: 268–273
  • O’Sullivan, O.S., Weerasinghe, K.W.L.K., Evans, J.R., Egerton, J.G., Tjoelker, M.G. and Atkin, O.K. (2013).  High-resolution temperature responses of leaf respiration in snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) reveal high-temperature limits to respiratory function. Plant Cell and Environment 36: 1268-1284
  • 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.
  • Kornfeld, A., Heskel, M.A., Atkin, O.K., Griffin, K.L., Gough, L., Horton, T.W. and Turnbull, M.H. (2013).  Respiratory flexibility and efficiency are affected by simulated global change in Arctic plants. New Phytologist 197: 1161-1172.
  • Kornfeld, A. Horton, T., Yakir, D., Searle, S., Griffin, K.L., Atkin, O.K., Subke J. and Turnbull, M.T. (2012).  A field-compatible method for measuring alternative respiratory pathway activities in vivo using stable O2 isotope.  Plant Cell and Environment 35: 1518-1532. 
  • 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.
  • Searle, S.T., Bitterman, D.S.,Thomas, S., Griffin, K.L., Atkin, O.K. and Turnbull, M.H. (2011). Respiratory alternative oxidase responds to both low and high temperature stress in Quercus rubra leaves along an urban-rural gradient in New York.  Functional Ecology 25: 1007-1017. 
  • Ayub, G., Smith, R., Tissue, D.T. and Atkin, O.K.  (2011) Impacts of drought on leaf respiration in darkness and in the light in Eucalyptus saligna exposed to industrial-age atmospheric CO2 and growth temperature.  New Phytologist 190: 1003–1018.
  • Crous, K.Y., Zaragoza-Castells, J., Löw, M., Ellsworth, D., Tissue, D.T., Tjoelker, M.G., Barton, C.V.M., Gimeno, T.E., and Atkin, O.K. (2011) Seasonal acclimation of leaf respiration in Eucalyptus saligna trees: impacts of elevated atmospheric CO2 and summer drought.  Global Change Biology 17: 1560–1576
  • Nicotra, A., Atkin, O.K., Bonser, S.P.,Davidson, A., Finnegan, E.J., Mathesius, U., Poot, P., Purugganan, M.D., Richards, C.L., Valladares, F., van Kleunen, M. (2010)  Plant phenotypic plasticity in a changing climate.  Trends in Plant Science 15: 684-892
  • Gorsuch, P.A., Sargent A., Penfield, S., Quick, W.P. and Atkin, O.K. (2010) Systemic low temperature signaling in Arabidopsis.  Plant and Cell Physiology 51: 1488-1498
  • Gorsuch, P.A., Pandey, S., and Atkin, O.K. (2010). Thermal de-acclimation: how permanent is the leaf phenotype when cold-acclimated plants experience warming? Plant, Cell and Environment 33: 1124–1137
  • Gimeno, T.E., Sommerville, K., Valladares, F. and Atkin, O.K. (2010). Homeostasis of respiration under drought and its important consequences for foliar carbon balance in a drier climate: insights from two contrasting Acacia species. Functional Plant Biology 37: 323-333.
  • Gorsuch, P.A., Pandey, S. and Atkin, O.K. (2010).  Temporal heterogeneity of leaf structural and metabolic phenotypes in response to sustained cold treatments.  Plant, Cell and Environment 33: 244-258.
  • Rodríguez-Calcerrada, J., Atkin, O.K., Robson, M., Zaragoza-Castells, J., Gil, L. and Aranda, I. (2010). Thermal acclimation of leaf dark respiration of beech seedlings experiencing summer drought in high and low light environments.  Tree Physiology 30:214-224


This research was funded by an ARC Future Fellowship (FT0991448) to Owen Atkin.