Plant, Cell & Environment | VOL. 43
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Interactive effects of elevated CO 2 , warming, reduced rainfall, and nitrogen on leaf gas exchange in five perennial grassland species

Publication Date Jun 14, 2020

Abstract

Global changes can interact to affect photosynthesis and thus ecosystem carbon capture, yet few multi-factor field studies exist to examine such interactions. Here, we evaluate leaf gas exchange responses of five perennial grassland species from four functional groups to individual and interactive global changes in an open-air experiment in Minnesota, USA, including elevated CO2 (eCO2 ), warming, reduced rainfall and increased soil nitrogen supply. All four factors influenced leaf net photosynthesis and/or stomatal conductance, but almost all effects were context-dependent, i.e. they differed among species, varied with levels of other treatments and/or depended on environmental conditions. Firstly, the response of photosynthesis to eCO2 depended on species and nitrogen, became more positive as vapour pressure deficit increased and, for a C4 grass and a legume, was more positive under reduced rainfall. Secondly, reduced rainfall increased photosynthesis in three functionally distinct species, potentially via acclimation to low soil moisture. Thirdly, warming had positive, neutral or negative effects on photosynthesis depending on species and rainfall. Overall, our results show that interactions among global changes and environmental conditions may complicate predictions based on simple theoretical expectations of main effects, and that the factors and interactions influencing photosynthesis vary among herbaceous species.

Concepts

Perennial Grassland Species Experiment In Minnesota Global Changes Open-air Experiment Leaf Gas Exchange Perennial Species Environmental Conditions Herbaceous Species Global Environmental Conditions Stomatal Conductance

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