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Tree Physiol. 1999 Jun;19(7):467-473.

Limitation of leaf carbon gain by stomatal and photochemical processes in the top canopy of Macaranga conifera, a tropical pioneer tree.

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  • 1Forest Environment Division, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI), P.O. Box 16, Tsukuba Norin, Danchi, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan.


Diurnal changes in gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence were measured in the top canopy leaves of the tropical rainforest tree species, Macaranga conifera (Zoll.) Muell. Arg. during a drought year. Maximum values of net photosynthetic rate (P(n), 10 &mgr;mol m(-2) s(-1)) and stomatal conductance (g(s), 0.2 mol m(-2) s(-1)) were found in east-facing leaves in early morning. After 1000 h, both P(n) and g(s) decreased. Minimum daytime values of P(n), g(s), and photosystem II (PSII) quantum yield (DeltaF/F(m)') were found in horizontally fixed leaves. At a given electron transport rate through PSII (ETR), P(n) was higher in early morning than at midday, suggesting a high rate of photorespiration at midday. We tested the hypothesis that the effect of low leaf temperature (T(leaf)) on P(n) is significant in the early morning, whereas the effect of low g(s) on P(n) predominates at midday. In the early morning, when T(leaf) was increased from 32 to 38 degrees C by artificial heating, P(n) at a given ETR decreased 29%, suggesting that the low T(leaf) was associated with a high P(n). When T(leaf) at midday was decreased from 37 to 32 degrees C by artificial cooling, P(n) increased 22%, but P(n) at a given ETR was higher in early morning than at midday, even at the same low T(leaf) (32 degrees C). This suggests that the rate of photorespiration was higher at midday than in early morning because low g(s) at midday caused a reduction in leaf intercellular CO(2) concentration. We conclude that low P(n) at midday was the result of both a reduction in the photochemical process and an increase in stomatal limitation.

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