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Tree Physiol. 2004 Apr;24(4):369-76.

Acclimation of photosynthetic capacity in Scots pine to the annual cycle of temperature.

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  • 1Department of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Coniferous trees growing in the boreal and temperate zones have a clear annual cycle of photosynthetic activity. A recent study demonstrated that the seasonal variation in photosynthetic capacity of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) could be attributed mainly to the light response curve of photosynthesis. The magnitude of the light response curve varied over the season while its shape remained constant, indicating that the two physiological parameters quantifying the curve-the quantum yield per unit internal carbon dioxide concentration and the corresponding light-saturated rate-remained proportional to each other. We now show, through modeling studies, that the quantum yield (and hence the light-saturated rate) is related to the annual cycle of temperature through a delayed dynamic response. The proposed model was tested by comparing model results with intensive measurements of photosynthesis and driving variables made from April to October in three shoots of Scots pine growing near the northern timberline. Photosynthetic capacity showed considerable acclimation during the growing season. A single model describing photosynthetic capacity as a reversible, first-order delay process driven by temperature explained most of the variation in photosynthetic capacity during the year. The proposed model is simpler but no less accurate than previous models of the annual cycle of photosynthetic capacity.

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