Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Oecologia. 2009 Aug;161(1):25-33. doi: 10.1007/s00442-009-1355-4. Epub 2009 May 6.

Seasonal differences in leaf-level physiology give lianas a competitive advantage over trees in a tropical seasonal forest.

Author information

1
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, China.

Abstract

Lianas are an important component of most tropical forests, where they vary in abundance from high in seasonal forests to low in seasonal forests. We tested the hypothesis that the physiological ability of lianas to fix carbon (and thus grow) during seasonal drought may confer a distinct advantage in seasonal tropical forests, which may explain pan-tropical liana distributions. We compared a range of leaf-level physiological attributes of 18 co-occurring liana and 16 tree species during the wet and dry seasons in a tropical seasonal forest in Xishuangbanna, China. We found that, during the wet season, lianas had significantly higher CO(2) assimilation per unit mass (A(mass)), nitrogen concentration (N(mass)), and delta(13)C values, and lower leaf mass per unit area (LMA) than trees, indicating that lianas have higher assimilation rates per unit leaf mass and higher integrated water-use efficiency (WUE), but lower leaf structural investments. Seasonal variation in CO(2) assimilation per unit area (A(area)), phosphorus concentration per unit mass (P(mass)), and photosynthetic N-use efficiency (PNUE), however, was significantly lower in lianas than in trees. For instance, mean tree A(area) decreased by 30.1% from wet to dry season, compared with only 12.8% for lianas. In contrast, from the wet to dry season mean liana delta(13)C increased four times more than tree delta(13)C, with no reduction in PNUE, whereas trees had a significant reduction in PNUE. Lianas had higher A(mass) than trees throughout the year, regardless of season. Collectively, our findings indicate that lianas fix more carbon and use water and nitrogen more efficiently than trees, particularly during seasonal drought, which may confer a competitive advantage to lianas during the dry season, and thus may explain their high relative abundance in seasonal tropical forests.

PMID:
19418072
PMCID:
PMC2700874
DOI:
10.1007/s00442-009-1355-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center