Sperlich D., Barbeta A., Ogaya R., Sabaté S., Peñuelas J. (2016) Balance between carbon gain and loss under long-term drought: Impacts on foliar respiration and photosynthesis in Quercus ilex L. Journal of Experimental Botany. 67: 821-833.EnllaçDoi: 10.1093/jxb/erv492
Terrestrial carbon exchange is a key process of the global carbon cycle consisting of a delicate balance between photosynthetic carbon uptake and respiratory release. We have, however, a limited understanding how long-term decreases in precipitation induced by climate change affect the boundaries and mechanisms of photosynthesis and respiration. We examined the seasonality of photosynthetic and respiratory traits and evaluated the adaptive mechanism of the foliar carbon balance of Quercus ilex L. experiencing a long-term rainfall-exclusion experiment. Day respiration (R d) but not night respiration (R n) was generally higher in the drought treatment leading to an increased R d/R n ratio. The limitation of mesophyll conductance (g m) on photosynthesis was generally stronger than stomatal limitation (g s) in the drought treatment, reflected in a lower g m/g s ratio. The peak photosynthetic activity in the drought treatment occurred in an atypical favourable summer in parallel with lower R d/R n and higher g m/g s ratios. The plant carbon balance was thus strongly improved through: (i) higher photosynthetic rates induced by g m; and (ii) decreased carbon losses mediated by R d. Interestingly, photosynthetic potentials (V c,max, J max, and TPU) were not affected by the drought treatment, suggesting a dampening effect on the biochemical level in the long term. In summary, the trees experiencing a 14-year-long drought treatment adapted through higher plasticity in photosynthetic and respiratory traits, so that eventually the atypical favourable growth period was exploited more efficiently. © 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.
Sperlich D., Chang C.T., Penuelas J., Gracia C., Sabate S. (2015) Seasonal variability of foliar photosynthetic and morphological traits and drought impacts in a Mediterranean mixed forest. Tree Physiology. 35: 501-520.EnllaçDoi: 10.1093/treephys/tpv017
The Mediterranean region is a hot spot of climate change vulnerable to increased droughts and heat waves. Scaling carbon fluxes from leaf to landscape levels is particularly challenging under drought conditions. We aimed to improve the mechanistic understanding of the seasonal acclimation of photosynthesis and morphology in sunlit and shaded leaves of four Mediterranean trees (Quercus ilex L., Pinus halepensis Mill., Arbutus unedo L. and Quercus pubescens Willd.) under natural conditions. Vc,max and Jmax were not constant, and mesophyll conductance was not infinite, as assumed in most terrestrial biosphere models, but varied significantly between seasons, tree species and leaf position. Favourable conditions in winter led to photosynthetic recovery and growth in the evergreens. Under moderate drought, adjustments in the photo/biochemistry and stomatal/mesophyllic diffusion behaviour effectively protected the photosynthetic machineries. Severe drought, however, induced early leaf senescence mostly in A. unedo and Q. pubescens, and significantly increased leaf mass per area in Q. ilex and P. halepensis. Shaded leaves had lower photosynthetic potentials but cushioned negative effects during stress periods. Species-specificity, seasonal variations and leaf position are key factors to explain vegetation responses to abiotic stress and hold great potential to reduce uncertainties in terrestrial biosphere models especially under drought conditions. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
Sperlich D., Chang C.T., Penuelas J., Gracia C., Sabate S. (2014) Foliar photochemical processes and carbon metabolism under favourable and adverse winter conditions in a Mediterranean mixed forest, Catalonia (Spain). Biogeosciences. 11: 5657-5674.EnllaçDoi: 10.5194/bg-11-5657-2014
Evergreen trees in the Mediterranean region must cope with a wide range of environmental stresses from summer drought to winter cold. The mildness of Mediterranean winters can periodically lead to favourable environmental conditions above the threshold for a positive carbon balance, benefitting evergreen woody species more than deciduous ones. The comparatively lower solar energy input in winter decreases the foliar light saturation point. This leads to a higher susceptibility to photoinhibitory stress especially when chilly (< 12 °C) or freezing temperatures (< 0 °C) coincide with clear skies and relatively high solar irradiances. Nonetheless, the advantage of evergreen species that are able to photosynthesize all year round where a significant fraction can be attributed to winter months, compensates for the lower carbon uptake during spring and summer in comparison to deciduous species. We investigated the ecophysiological behaviour of three co-occurring mature evergreen tree species (Quercus ilex L., Pinus halepensis Mill., and Arbutus unedo L.). Therefore, we collected twigs from the field during a period of mild winter conditions and after a sudden cold period. After both periods, the state of the photosynthetic machinery was tested in the laboratory by estimating the foliar photosynthetic potential with CO2 response curves in parallel with chlorophyll fluorescence measurements. The studied evergreen tree species benefited strongly from mild winter conditions by exhibiting extraordinarily high photosynthetic potentials. A sudden period of frost, however, negatively affected the photosynthetic apparatus, leading to significant decreases in key physiological parameters such as the maximum carboxylation velocity (Vc, max), the maximum photosynthetic electron transport rate (Jmax), and the optimal fluorometric quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm). The responses of Vc, max and Jmax were highly species specific, with Q. ilex exhibiting the highest and P. halepensis the lowest reductions. In contrast, the optimal fluorometric quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) was significantly lower in <i>A. unedo</i> after the cold period. The leaf position played an important role in Q. ilex showing a stronger winter effect on sunlit leaves in comparison to shaded leaves. Our results generally agreed with the previous classifications of photoinhibition-tolerant (P. halepensis) and photoinhibition-avoiding (Q. ilex) species on the basis of their susceptibility to dynamic photoinhibition, whereas A. unedo was the least tolerant to photoinhibition, which was chronic in this species. Q. ilex and P. halepensis seem to follow contrasting photoprotective strategies. However, they seemed equally successful under the prevailing conditions exhibiting an adaptive advantage over A. unedo. These results show that our understanding of the dynamics of interspecific competition in Mediterranean ecosystems requires consideration of the physiological behaviour during winter which may have important implications for long-term carbon budgets and growth trends.
Otero I., Boada M., Badia A., Pla E., Vayreda J., Sabaté S., Gracia C.A., Peñuelas J. (2011) Loss of water availability and stream biodiversity under land abandonment and climate change in a Mediterranean catchment (Olzinelles, NE Spain). Land Use Policy. 28: 207-218.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2010.06.002
In the north rim of the Mediterranean region, where forest cover is increasing as a result of land abandonment and temperatures are rising as a result of climate change, there is increasing interest for the effects of such changes on the runoff of water courses. This is a paramount issue for the conservation of many freshwater habitats and species. In this work we studied the effects of both an increase in forest cover after depopulation and land abandonment and an increase in temperature on the runoff of a Mediterranean catchment and on the aquatic and semi-aquatic fauna species of the stream (Olzinelles valley, NE Spain). Although in our simulation no decreasing trend in runoff is detected, the monthly runoff-rainfall ratio is now 15% lower than 30 years ago, a fact that may be attributed to a drier period rather than to the small afforestation experienced by the catchment in the last decades. Other factors such as increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and increasing canopy cover are discussed. The observed decrease in the water flow has caused the disappearance of white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), Mediterranean barbel (Barbus meridionalis), chub (Squalius cephalus), European eel (Anguilla anguilla), and southern water vole (Arvicola sapidus). Our results suggest that in a progressively warmer climate, and especially after land abandonment processes, management of Mediterranean mountain areas should be oriented towards an appropriate distribution of agrarian and forest land-covers in terms of water availability. Down to the stream scale, the pools that keep water throughout the year should be conserved and extended to enhance its potential to maintain aquatic and semi-aquatic species populations. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Keenan T, Niinemets Ü, Sabaté S, Gracia C, Peñuelas J (2009) Process based inventory of isoprenoid emissions from European forests: model comparisons, current knowledge and uncertainties. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions 9: 6147-6206.
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