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High CO2 concentration increases relative leaf carbon gain under dynamic light in Dipterocarpus sublamellatus seedlings in a tropical rain forest, Malaysia


, : High CO2 concentration increases relative leaf carbon gain under dynamic light in Dipterocarpus sublamellatus seedlings in a tropical rain forest, Malaysia. Tree Physiology 34(9): 944-954

Understory plants in tropical forests often experience a low-light environment combined with high CO2 concentration. We hypothesized that the high CO2 concentration may compensate for leaf carbon loss caused by the low light, through increasing light-use efficiency of both steady-state and dynamic photosynthetic properties. To test the hypothesis, we examined CO2 gas exchange in response to an artificial lightfleck in Dipterocarpus sublamellatus Foxw. seedlings under contrasting CO2 conditions: 350 and 700 μmol CO2 mol(-1) air in a tropical rain forest, Pasoh, Malaysia. Total photosynthetic carbon gain from the lightfleck was about double when subjected to the high CO2 when compared with the low CO2 concentration. The increase of light-use efficiency in dynamic photosynthesis contributed 7% of the increased carbon gain, most of which was due to reduction of photosynthetic induction to light increase under the high CO2. The light compensation point of photosynthesis decreased by 58% and the apparent quantum yield increased by 26% at the high CO2 compared with those at the low CO2. The study suggests that high CO2 increases photosynthetic light-use efficiency under both steady-state and fluctuating light conditions, which should be considered in assessing the leaf carbon gain of understory plants in low-light environments.

US$19.90

PMID: 25187569

DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpu066


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