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Leaf nitrogen from first principles: field evidence for adaptive variation with climate

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Title: Leaf nitrogen from first principles: field evidence for adaptive variation with climate
Authors: Dong, N
Prentice, IC
Evans, BJ
Caddy-Retalic, S
Lowe, AJ
Wright, IJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Nitrogen content per unit leaf area (Narea) is a key variable in plant functional ecology and biogeochemistry. Narea comprises a structural component, which scales with leaf mass per area (LMA), and a metabolic component, which scales with Rubisco capacity. The co-ordination hypothesis, as implemented in LPJ and related global vegetation models, predicts that Rubisco capacity should be directly proportional to irradiance but should decrease with increases in ci : ca and temperature because the amount of Rubisco required to achieve a given assimilation rate declines with increases in both. We tested these predictions using LMA, leaf δ13C, and leaf N measurements on complete species assemblages sampled at sites on a north–south transect from tropical to temperate Australia. Partial effects of mean canopy irradiance, mean annual temperature, and ci : ca (from δ13C) on Narea were all significant and their directions and magnitudes were in line with predictions. Over 80 % of the variance in community-mean (ln) Narea was accounted for by these predictors plus LMA. Moreover, Narea could be decomposed into two components, one proportional to LMA (slightly steeper in N-fixers), and the other to Rubisco capacity as predicted by the co-ordination hypothesis. Trait gradient analysis revealed ci : ca to be perfectly plastic, while species turnover contributed about half the variation in LMA and Narea.
Issue Date: 30-Jan-2017
Date of Acceptance: 25-Nov-2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/45317
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-481-2017
ISSN: 1726-4189
Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU)
Start Page: 481
End Page: 495
Journal / Book Title: Biogeosciences
Volume: 14
Issue: 2
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Author(s). This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Sponsor/Funder: AXA Research Fund
Funder's Grant Number: AXA Chair Programme in Biosphere and Climate Impacts
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Ecology
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Geology
USE EFFICIENCY
PHOTOSYNTHETIC CAPACITY
TRAIT RELATIONSHIPS
ECONOMICS SPECTRUM
CARBON-DIOXIDE
CELL-WALLS
LIFE-SPAN
MODEL
PLANTS
WATER
Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
04 Earth Sciences
05 Environmental Sciences
06 Biological Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location: http://www.biogeosciences.net/14/481/2017/
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy



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