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Tree Physiol. 1986 Jun;1(1):37-45.

Effects of atmospheric humidity and acclimation temperature on the temperature response of photosynthesis in young Larix decidua Mill.

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  • 1Forstliche Bundesversuchsanstalt, Aussenstelle für subalpine Waldforschung, A-6020 Innsbruck, Rennweg 1, Austria.


Larch (Larix decidua Mill.) seedlings of a low altitude (600 m) Austrian provenance were raised outdoors and acclimated in chambers for 14 to 24 days during August and September at either 8 degrees C and an atmospheric saturation vapor pressure deficit (DeltaW) of 2.5 Pa kPa(-1), or 24 degrees C and a DeltaW of 6.2 Pa kPa(-1). Subsequently, their rates of photosynthesis, dark respiration and transpiration were measured at temperatures between 5 and 30 degrees C with DeltaW either maintained below 10 Pa kPa(-1) or allowed to increase with temperature up to 38 Pa kPa(-1). Below 15 degrees C the photosynthetic rate of cold-acclimated plants was higher, but above 15 degrees C it was lower, than that of warm-acclimated plants. Temperature acclimation caused a greater shift in the temperature optimum for photosynthesis when DeltaW was kept small than when it was allowed to increase with temperature. When DeltaW was kept small, leaf conductance of cold-acclimated plants, unlike that of warm-acclimated plants, did not increase with temperature above 15 degrees C. When DeltaW increased with temperature, leaf conductance of cold-acclimated plants decreased more rapidly with temperature than that of warm-acclimated plants. Low temperature acclimation increased the rate of photosynthesis below 15 degrees C without affecting leaf conductance, which indicates that there was an adaptation in leaf internal processes. Further evidence of a metabolic adaptation to acclimation temperature is that dark respiration of cold-acclimated plants was twice that of warm-acclimated plants at all temperatures.

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