The role of air humidity and leaf temperature in controlling stomatal resistance of Prunus armeniaca L. under desert conditions
- Cite this article as:
- Schulze, E.D., Lange, O.L., Evenari, M. et al. Oecologia (1974) 17: 159. doi:10.1007/BF00346278
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Experiments with Prunus armeniaca were carried out under conditions of constant temperature but varying air humidity. Experiments were also contucted with a constant water vapor difference between the evaporating sites in a leaf and the air, but with varying leaf temperature. These served as a basis for predicting the daily course of total diffusion resistance under the natural climatic conditions of a desert. For the simulation, the rsults of the experiments at constant conditions with only one variable factor are fitted with empirical equations which serve as “calibration curves” to predict the change in diffusion resistance caused by a change in humidity and temperature calculated from the meteorological data of a desert day. The simulation shows that for P. armeniaca humidity and temperature are the dominating factors in controlling the daily course of diffusion resistance. For meteorologically very different days the simulation allows the increase in diffusion resistance in the morning to be predicted with an accuracy of 90%–105% as compared to directly observed measurements. In the afternoon, especially after extreme climatic conditions during the morning, the deviation between predicted and observed values of diffusion resistance may be greater, but not more than -20% to -30%. This possibly indicates the existence of an additional factor of significance which was not included in the simulation. The two peaked curves of net photosynthesis and transpiration characteristic of plants living under arid conditions can be explained in this species by the humidity-and temperature-controlled stomatal response. This stomatal regulation leads to a decreasing total daily transpirational water loss on a dry day as compared to a moist one. The significance of this controlling mechanism for the primary production and the water relations of P. armeniaca is discussed.