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Foliar respiration and its temperature sensitivity in trees and lianas: in situ measurements in the upper canopy of a tropical forest

Journal Article

Slot M; Wright SJ; Kitajima K

2013

Tree Physiology

33

505-515

Leaf dark respiration (R) and its temperature sensitivity are essential for efforts to model carbon fluxes in tropical forests under current and future temperature regimes but insufficient data exist to generalize patterns of R in species-rich tropical forests. Here we tested the hypothesis that R and its temperature sensitivity (expressed as Q10 the proportional increase in R with a 10 °C rise in temperature) vary in relation to leaf functional traits and among plant functional types (PFTs). We conducted in situ measurements of R of 461 leaves of 26 species of tree and liana in the upper canopy of a tropical forest in Panama. A construction crane allowed repeated non-destructive access to measure leaves kept in the dark since the previous night and equilibrated to the ambient temperature of 23–31 °C in the morning. R at 25 °C (R25) varied among species (mean 1.11 µmol m-2 s-1; range 0.72–1.79 µmol m-2 s-1) but did not differ significantly among PFTs. R25 correlated positively with photosynthetic capacity leaf mass per unit area concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus and negatively with leaf lifespan. Q10 estimated for each species was on average higher than the 2.0 often assumed in coupled climate–vegetation models (mean 2.19; range 1.24–3.66). Early-successional tree species had higher Q10 values than other functional types but interspecific variation in Q10 values was not correlated with other leaf traits. Similarity in respiration characteristics across PFTs and relatively strong correlations of R with other leaf functional traits offer potential for trait-based vegetation modeling in species-rich tropical forests.

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Support

The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.