Size-dependency in hydraulic and photosynthetic properties of three Acer species having different maximum sizes
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- Nabeshima, E. & Hiura, T. Ecol Res (2008) 23: 281. doi:10.1007/s11284-007-0374-z
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Recent studies suggest that physiological traits can be affected by tree size due to stronger hydraulic limitation in taller trees. As trees vary greatly in size, both within and among species, the adaptive responses to hydraulic limitation may be different among species with different maximum sizes. To investigate this, we explored size-dependency in photosynthetic and hydraulic parameters of three Acer species (Acer mono Maxim., Acer amoenum Carr and Acer japonicum Thunb.) using trees of various sizes under well-lit conditions. Leaf stomatal conductance of the Acer species decreased with tree size, implying that water supply to leaves decreases as trees grow. In contrast, content of nitrogen increased with tree size, which may compensate for the decrease in stomatal conductance to maintain the photosynthetic rate. Although the increase in nitrogen and leaf mass per area were larger in species with larger statures, the size-dependency in stomatal conductance was not different among species, and photosynthetic rate and hydraulic conductance were maintained in the three Acer species. Therefore, we suggest that hydraulic limitation on gas exchange does not necessarily depend on the maximum height of the species and that maintenance of photosynthesis and hydraulic properties is a fundamental physiological process during tree growth.