Photosynthesis and respiration in Alocasia macrorrhiza following transfers to high and low light
- Cite this article as:
- Sims, D.A. & Pearcy, R.W. Oecologia (1991) 86: 447. doi:10.1007/BF00317615
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Photosynthetic capacities and respiration rates of Alocasia macrorrhiza leaves were measured for 4 weeks following reciprocal transfers between high (20% of full sun) and low (1% of full sun) light environments. Photosynthetic capacities and respiration rates of mature, high-light leaves were 1.7 and 4.5 times those of low-light leaves, respectively. Following transfer, respiration rates adjusted within 1 week to those characteristic of plants grown in the new environment. By contrast, photosynthetic capacities either did not adjust or changed only slowly following transfer. Most of the difference in respiration between high- and low-light leaves was related to the carbohydrate status as determined by the daily PFD and little was directly related to the maintenance costs of the photosynthetic apparatus. Leaf construction cost was directly proportional to maximum photosynthetic capacity. Consequently, although daily carbon gain per unit leaf area was the same for low-light and high to low-light transferred plants within a week after transfer, the carbon return per unit of carbon investment in the leaves remained lower in the high to low transfer plants throughout the 4 week measurement period. Conversely, in high-light, the low leaf construction cost of the low to high-light transferred plants resulted in carbon gain per unit investment just as high as that of the high-light plants.