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New Phytol. 2018 Jun;218(4):1406-1418. doi: 10.1111/nph.15124. Epub 2018 Apr 23.

In situ warming in the Antarctic: effects on growth and photosynthesis in Antarctic vascular plants.

Author information

1
Laboratorio Cultivo de Tejidos Vegetales, Centro de Biotecnología, Departamento de Silvicultura, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, 4030000, Chile.
2
ECOBIOSIS, Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario s/n, Concepción, 4030000, Chile.
3
Research Group on Plant Biology under Mediterranean Conditions, INAGEA-Universitat de les Illes Balears, Balearic Islands, 07122, Spain.
4
Unidad de Recursos Forestales, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón, Zaragoza, 50059, Spain.
5
Laboratorio de Fisiología Vegetal, Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario s/n, Concepción, 4030000, Chile.
6
Laboratorio de Fisiología y Biología Molecular Vegetal, Instituto de Agroindustria, Departamento de Ciencias Agronómicas y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Forestales, Center of Plant, Soil Interaction and Natural Resources Biotechnology, Scientific and Technological Bioresource Nucleus, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, 4811230, Chile.

Abstract

The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced a rapid warming in the last decades. Although recent climatic evidence supports a new tendency towards stabilization of temperatures, the impacts on the biosphere, and specifically on Antarctic plant species, remain unclear. We evaluated the in situ warming effects on photosynthesis, including the underlying diffusive, biochemical and anatomical determinants, and the relative growth of two Antarctic vascular species, Colobanthus quitensis and Deschampsia antarctica, using open top chambers (OTCs) and gas exchange measurements in the field. In C. quitensis, the photosynthetic response to warming relied on specific adjustments in the anatomical determinants of the leaf CO2 transfer, which enhanced mesophyll conductance and photosynthetic assimilation, thereby promoting higher leaf carbon gain and plant growth. These changes were accompanied by alterations in the leaf chemical composition. By contrast, D. antarctica showed no response to warming, with a lack of significant differences between plants grown inside OTCs and plants grown in the open field. Overall, the present results are the first reporting a contrasting effect of in situ warming on photosynthesis and its underlying determinants, of the two unique Antarctic vascular plant species, which could have direct consequences on their ecological success under future climate conditions.

KEYWORDS:

Colobanthus quitensis ; Deschampsia antarctica ; Antarctica; climate change; leaf traits; mesophyll conductance; photosynthesis

PMID:
29682746
DOI:
10.1111/nph.15124

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