, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 207-212

The effects of light and nitrogen on photosynthesis, leaf characteristics, and dry matter allocation in the chaparral shrub, Diplacus aurantiacus

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Summary

Plants of Diplacus aurantiacus, a successional shrub common in California chaparral, were grown under controlled conditions in which either quantum flux density or nitrogen availability was varied. Photosynthesis and leaf nitrogen content were determined on a leaf area and a leaf weight basis, and whole plant growth was monitored.

There was a direct relationship between photosynthesis and leaf nitrogen content on both area and weight bases. Reduced light intensity of the growth environment resulted in reductions in light-saturated photosynthesis and nitrogen content on an area basis, but not on a weight basis. With reduced nitrogen availability, photosynthesis and leaf nitrogen content per unit leaf weight decreased.

Resource use efficiency increased as the resource became more limiting. The results are consistent with a model of plant growth in which net carbon gain of the leaf is maximized.

Abbreviations. For brevity, the following set of abbreviations is used in presenting and discussing the results. P/area and N/area are, respectively, photosynthesis and leaf nitrogen content per unit leaf area. P/wt and N/wt are the same quantities per unit leaf dry weight. SLW (specific leaf weight) is dry weight per unit leaf area. RGR (relative growth rate) is the relative rate of increase in shoot dry matter per day