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Environ Pollut. 2001;113(2):177-85.

Variation of gas exchange within native plant species of Switzerland and relationships with ozone injury: an open-top experiment.

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  • 1School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA.


Gas exchange and ozone-induced foliar injury were intensively measured during a 6-day period in mid-August 1998 on leaves of Acer pseudoplatanus, Betula pendula, Corylus avellana, Fagus sylvatica, Fraxinus excelsior, Morus nigra, Prunus avium, Prunus serotina, Rhamnus cathartica, and Viburnum lantana at a forest nursery site in Canton Ticino, Switzerland. Plants were grown in four open plots (AA), four open-top chambers receiving carbon-filtered (CF) air, and four receiving non-filtered (NF) air. Significant variation in gas exchange (F > 12.7, P < 0.001) was detected among species with average net photosynthesis and average stomatal conductance differing by a factor of two. Species also varied significantly in foliar injury for those leaves for which we measured gas exchange (F = 39.6, P < 0.001). Fraxinus excelsior, M. nigra, P. avium, P. serotina, R. cathartica, and V. lantana showed more injury than A. pseudoplatanus, B. pendula, C. avellana, and Fagus sylvatica. Plants grown in CF chambers had significantly higher net photosynthesis (A) and stomatal conductance to water vapor (gwv), and lower foliar injury than plants grown in NF chambers and AA plots; interactions between species and ozone treatments were significant for all variables (F > or = 2.2, P < 0.05) except gwv (F = 0.7, P > 0.1). Although A and gwv decreased and foliar injury increased with leaf age, the magnitude of these changes was lower for plants grown in CF chambers than for plants grown in NF chambers and AA plots. Neither ozone uptake threshold (r = 0.26, P > 0.20) nor whole-plant injury (r = -0.15, P > 0.41) was significantly correlated with stomatal conductance across these species. It appears that the relationships between stomatal conductance and foliar injury are species-specific and interactions between physiology and environments and leaf biochemical processes must be considered in determining species sensitivity to ambient ozone exposures.

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