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Environ Pollut. 2005 Feb;133(3):553-67.

Physiological and foliar symptom response in the crowns of Prunus serotina, Fraxinus americana and Acer rubrum canopy trees to ambient ozone under forest conditions.

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  • 1Graduate Ecology Program, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


The crowns of five canopy dominant black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.), five white ash (Fraxinus americana L.), and six red maple (Acer rubrum L.) trees on naturally differing environmental conditions were accessed with scaffold towers within a mixed hardwood forest stand in central Pennsylvania. Ambient ozone concentrations, meteorological parameters, leaf gas exchange and leaf water potential were measured at the sites during the growing seasons of 1998 and 1999. Visible ozone-induced foliar injury was assessed on leaves within the upper and lower crown branches of each tree. Ambient ozone exposures were sufficient to induce typical symptoms on cherry (0-5% total affected leaf area, LAA), whereas foliar injury was not observed on ash or maple. There was a positive correlation between increasing cumulative ozone uptake (U) and increasing percent of LAA for cherry grown under drier site conditions. The lower crown leaves of cherry showed more severe foliar injury than the upper crown leaves. No significant differences in predawn leaf water potential (psi(L)) were detected for all three species indicating no differing soil moisture conditions across the sites. Significant variation in stomatal conductance for water vapor (g(wv)) was found among species, soil moisture, time of day and sample date. When comparing cumulative ozone uptake and decreased photosynthetic activity (P(n)), red maple was the only species to show higher gas exchange under mesic vs. drier soil conditions (P < 0.05). The inconsistent differences in gas exchange response within the same crowns of ash and the uncoupling relationship between g(wv) and P(n) demonstrate the strong influence of heterogeneous environmental conditions within forest canopies.

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