Leaf senescence and late-season net photosynthesis of sun and shade leaves of overstory sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) grown in elevated and ambient carbon dioxide concentrations.Tree Physiol 2003; 23(2):109-18TP
We examined the effects of elevated CO2 concentration ([CO2]) on leaf demography, late-season photosynthesis and leaf N resorption of overstory sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) trees in the Duke Forest Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment. Sun and shade leaves were subdivided into early leaves (formed in the overwintering bud) and late leaves (formed during the growing season). Overall, we found that leaf-level net photosynthetic rates were enhanced by atmospheric CO2 enrichment throughout the season until early November; however, sun leaves showed a greater response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment than shade leaves. Elevated [CO2] did not affect leaf longevity, emergence date or abscission date of sun leaves or shade leaves. Leaf number and leaf area per shoot were unaffected by CO2 treatment. A simple shoot photosynthesis model indicated that elevated [CO2] stimulated photosynthesis by 60% in sun shoots, but by only 3% in shade shoots. Whole-shoot photosynthetic rate was more than 12 times greater in sun shoots than in shade shoots. In senescent leaves, elevated [CO2] did not affect residual leaf nitrogen, and nitrogen resorption was largely unaffected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment, except for a small decrease in shade leaves. Overall, elevated [CO2] had little effect on the number of leaves per shoot at any time during the season and, therefore, did not change seasonal carbon gain by extending or shortening the growing season. Stimulation of carbon gain by atmospheric CO2 enrichment in sweetgum trees growing in the Duke Forest FACE experiment was the result of a strong stimulation of photosynthesis throughout the growing season.