Scaling leaf respiration with nitrogen and phosphorus in tropical forests across two continents

Abstract : Leaf dark respiration (R-dark) represents an important component controlling the carbon balance in tropical forests. Here, we test how nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) affect R-dark and its relationship with photosynthesis using three widely separated tropical forests which differ in soil fertility. R-dark was measured on 431 rainforest canopy trees, from 182 species, in French Guiana, Peru and Australia. The variation in R-dark was examined in relation to leaf N and P content, leaf structure and maximum photosynthetic rates at ambient and saturating atmospheric CO2 concentration. We found that the site with the lowest fertility (French Guiana) exhibited greater rates of R-dark per unit leaf N, P and photosynthesis. The data from Australia, for which there were no phylogenetic overlaps with the samples from the South American sites, yielded the most distinct relationships of R-dark with the measured leaf traits. Our data indicate that no single universal scaling relationship accounts for variation in R-dark across this large biogeographical space. Variability between sites in the absolute rates of R-dark and the R-dark : photosynthesis ratio were driven by variations in N- and P-use efficiency, which were related to both taxonomic and environmental variability.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 10, 2017 - 4:53:38 PM
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Lucy Rowland, Joana Zaragoza-Castells, Keith J. Bloomfield, Matthew H. Turnbull, Damien Bonal, et al.. Scaling leaf respiration with nitrogen and phosphorus in tropical forests across two continents. New Phytologist, Wiley, 2017, 214 (3), pp.1064 - 1077. ⟨10.1111/nph.13992⟩. ⟨hal-01559483⟩

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