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  • Blackwell Science Ltd  (5)
  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: We investigated how light and CO2 levels interact to influence growth, phenology, and the physiological processes involved in leaf senescence in red oak (Quercus rubra) seedlings. We grew plants in high and low light and in elevated and ambient CO2. At the end of three years of growth, shade plants showed greater biomass enhancement under elevated CO2 than sun plants. We attribute this difference to an increase in leaf area ratio (LAR) in shade plants relative to sun plants, as well as to an ontogenetic effect: as plants increased in size, the LAR declined concomitant with a decline in biomass enhancement under elevated CO2Elevated CO2 prolonged the carbon gain capacity of shade-grown plants during autumnal senescence, thus increasing their functional leaf lifespan. The prolongation of carbon assimilation, however, did not account for the increased growth enhancement in shade plants under elevated CO2. Elevated CO2 did not significantly alter leaf phenology. Nitrogen concentrations in both green and senesced leaves were lower under elevated CO2 and declined more rapidly in sun leaves than in shade leaves. Similar to nitrogen concentration, the initial slope of A/Ci curves indicated that Rubisco activity declined more rapidly in sun plants than in shade plants, particularly under elevated CO2. Absolute levels of chlorophyll were affected by the interaction of CO2 and light, and chlorophyll content declined to a minimal level in sun plants sooner than in shade plants. These declines in N concentration, in the initial slope of A/Ci curves, and in chlorophyll content were consistent with declining photosynthesis, such that elevated CO2 accelerated senescence in sun plants and prolonged leaf function in shade plants. These results have implications for the carbon economy of seedlings and the regeneration of red oak under global change conditions.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide supply is predicted to alter plant growth and biomass allocation patterns. It is not clear whether changes in biomass allocation reflect optimal partitioning or whether they are a direct effect of increased growth rates. Plasticity in growth and biomass allocation patterns was investigated at two concentrations of CO2 ([CO2]) and at limiting and nonlimiting nutrient levels for four fast- growing old-field annual species. Abutilon theophrasti, Amaranthus retroflexus, Chenopodium album, and Polygonum pensylvanicum were grown from seed in controlled growth chamber conditions at current (350 μmol mol−1, ambient) and future- predicted (700 μmol mol−1, elevated) CO2 levels. Frequent harvests were used to determine growth and biomass allocation responses of these plants throughout vegetative development. Under nonlimiting nutrient conditions, whole plant growth was increased greatly under elevated [CO2] for three C3 species and moderately increased for a C4 species (Amaranthus). No significant increases in whole plant growth were observed under limiting nutrient conditions. Plants grown in elevated [CO2] had lower or unchanged root:shoot ratios, contrary to what would be expected by optimal partitioning theory. These differences disappeared when allometric plots of the same data were analysed, indicating that CO2-induced differences in root:shoot allocation were a consequence of accelerated growth and development rates. Allocation to leaf area was unaffected by atmospheric [CO2] for these species. The general lack of biomass allocation responses to [CO2] availability is in stark contrast with known responses of these species to light and nutrient gradients. We conclude that biomass allocation responses to elevated atmospheric [CO2] are not consistent with optimal partitioning predictions.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: This study investigated simultaneous plant and soil feedbacks on growth enhancement with elevated [CO2] within microcosms of yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.) in the second year of growth. Understanding the integrated responses of model ecosystems may provide key insight into the potential net nutrient feedbacks on [CO2] growth enhancements in temperate forests. We measured the net biomass production, C:N ratios, root architecture, and mycorrhizal responses of yellow birch, in situ rates gross nitrogen mineralization and the partitioning of available NH4+ between yellow birch and soil microbes. Elevated atmospheric [CO2] resulted in significant alterations in the cycling of N within the microcosms. Plant C/N ratios were significantly increased, gross mineralization and NH4+ consumption rates were decreased, and relative microbial uptake of NH4+ was increased, representing a suite of N cycling negative feedbacks on N availability. However, increased C/N ratios may also be a mechanism which allows plants to maintain higher growth with a constant or reduced N supply. Total plant N content was increased with elevated [CO2], suggesting that yellow birch had successfully increased their ability to acquire nutrients during the first year of growth. However, plant uptake rates of NH4+ had decreased in the second year. This discrepancy implies that, in this study, nitrogen uptake showed a trend through ontogeny of decreasing enhancement under elevated [CO2]. The reduced N mineralization and relatively increased N immobilization are a potential feedback which may drive this ontogenetic trend. This study has demonstrated the importance of using an integrated approach to exploring potential nutrient-cycling feedbacks in elevated [CO2].
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Sap-feeding insects such as aphids are the only insect herbivores that show positive responses to elevated CO2. Recent models predict that increased nitrogen will increase aphid population size under elevated CO2, but few experiments have tested this idea empirically. To determine whether soil nitrogen (N) availability modifies aphid responses to elevated CO2, we tested the performance of Macrosiphum euphorbiae feeding on two host plants; a C3 plant (Solanum dulcamara), and a C4 plant (Amaranthus viridis). We expected aphid population size to increase on plants in elevated CO2, with the degree of increase depending on the N availability.We found a significant CO2× N interaction for the response of population size for M. euphorbiae feeding on S. dulcamara: aphids feeding on plants grown in ambient CO2, low N conditions increased in response to either high N availability or elevated CO2. No population size responses were observed for aphids infesting A. viridis. Elevated CO2 increased plant biomass, specific leaf weight, and C : N ratios of the C3 plant, S. dulcamara but did not affect the C4 plant, A. viridis. Increased N fertilization significantly increased plant biomass, leaf area, and the weight : height ratio in both experiments. Elevated CO2 decreased leaf N in S. dulcamara and had no effect on A. viridis, while higher N availability increased leaf N in A. viridis and had no effect in S. dulcamara. Aphid infestation only affected the weight : height ratio of S. dulcamara.We only observed an increase in aphid population size in response to elevated CO2 or increased N availability for aphids feeding on S. dulcamara grown under low N conditions. There appears to be a maximum population growth rate that M. euphorbiae aphids can attain, and we suggest that this response is because of intrinsic limits on development time and fecundity.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1365-2486
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geography
    Notes: Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 may alter the structure and composition of plant communities by affecting how species respond to their physical and biological environment. We investigated how elevated CO2 influenced the response of paper birch ( Betula papyrifera Marsh.) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.) seedlings to variation in soil moisture. Seedlings were grown for four months on a soil moisture gradient, individually and in mixed species stands, in controlled environment facilities at ambient (375 μL L–1) and elevated (700 μL L–1) atmospheric CO2. For both individually and competitively grown paper birch seedlings, there was a greater CO2 growth enhancement for seedlings watered less frequently than for well-watered seedlings. This differential change in CO2 responsiveness across the moisture gradient reduced the difference in seedling growth between high and low water levels and effectively broadened the regeneration niche of paper birch. In contrast, for yellow birch seedlings, elevated CO2 only produced a significant growth enhancement at the wet end of the soil moisture gradient, and increased the size difference between seedlings at the two ends of the gradient. Gas exchange measurements showed that paper birch seedlings were more sensitive than yellow birch seedlings to declines in soil moisture, and that elevated CO2 reduced this sensitivity. Additionally, elevated CO2 improved survival of yellow birch seedlings growing in competition with paper birch in dry stands. Thus, elevated CO2 may influence regeneration patterns of paper birch and yellow birch on sites of differing soil moisture. In the future, as atmospheric CO2 levels rise, growth of paper birch seedlings and survival of yellow birch seedlings may be enhanced on xeric sites, while yellow birch may show improved growth on mesic sites.
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