Effects of long-term experimental night-time warming and drought on photosynthesis, Fv/Fm and stomatal conductance in the dominant species of a Mediterranean shrubland

Patricia Prieto, Josep Peñuelas, Joan Llusià, Dolores Asensio, Marc Estiarte

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    Abstract

    We conducted a night-time warming and drought field experiment for 7 years (1999-2005) in a Mediterranean shrubland. We focused on the two dominant shrub species, Erica multiflora L. and Globularia alypum L. and the tree Pinus halepensis L. and the final years to study the effects of the experimental night-time warming and drought on Fv/Fm, photosynthesis, and stomatal conductance. Warming treatment increased mean air temperature and mean soil temperature through the years by an average of 0.7 and 0.9°C respectively, and drought treatment reduced soil moisture through the years by an average of 19%. Warming tended to increase photosynthetic rates in E. multiflora, G. alypum and P. halepensis mostly in the cold seasons, when plants were more limited by temperature, as shown by the lowest values of Fv/Fm being detected in winter in the three studied species. A negative effect of warming was only detected for E. multiflora in summer 2003. Drought treatment generated different responses of net photosynthetic rates depending on the species, season and year. Stomatal conductance showed the same pattern as photosynthesis for the three studied species, displaying seasonal and inter-annual variability, although with an overall negative effect of drought for P. halepensis. Photosynthetic rates decreased significantly in the dry winter 2005 and spring 2005 in comparison to the same seasons of 2003 and 2004. There were positive correlations between the photosynthetic rates in different seasons for E. multiflora, G. alypum and P. halepensis and the soil moisture of the week prior to measurements. The great variation in the photosynthetic rates was thus explained in a significant part by soil moisture levels. The lowest Fv/Fm values usually corresponded with lowest stomatal conductances suggesting that drought stress could be associated to stress by low temperatures in winter. © 2009 Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)729-739
    JournalActa Physiologiae Plantarum
    Volume31
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009

    Keywords

    • Drought
    • Erica multiflora
    • Fluorescence
    • Global warming
    • Globularia alypum
    • Mediterranean shrubland
    • Photosynthesis
    • Pinus halepensis
    • Stomatal conductance

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