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Environ Pollut. 2005 Oct;137(3):494-506.

Comparison of ozone uptake and sensitivity between a phytotron study with young beech and a field experiment with adult beech (Fagus sylvatica).

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Ecophysiology of Plants, Department of Ecology, TU München, Am Hochanger 13, D-85354 Freising, Germany.


Chamber experiments on juvenile trees have resulted in severe injury and accelerated loss of leaves along with reduced biomass production under chronically enhanced O3 levels. In contrast, the few studies conducted on adult forest trees in the field have reported low O3 sensitivity. In the present study, young beech in phytotrons was more sensitive to O3 than adult beech in the field, although employed O3 regimes were similar. The hypotheses tested were that: (1) differences in O3 uptake were caused by the ontogenetically higher stomatal conductance of young compared to adult trees, (2) the experimental settings in the phytotrons enhanced O3 uptake compared to field conditions, and (3) a low detoxification capacity contributes to the higher O3 sensitivity of the young trees. The higher O3 sensitivity of juvenile beech in the phytotrons is demonstrated to relate to both the experimental conditions and the physiological responsiveness inherent to tree age.

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