Oecologia

, Volume 91, Issue 3, pp 305–311 | Cite as

Carbon isotope composition in relation to leaf gas exchange and environmental conditions in Hawaiian Metrosideros polymorpha populations

  • F. C. Meinzer
  • P. W. Rundel
  • G. Goldstein
  • M. R. Sharifi
Original Papers

Summary

Carbon isotope composition, photosynthetic gas exchange, and nitrogen content were measured in leaves of three varieties of Metrosideros polymorpha growing in sites presenting a variety of precipitation, temperature and edaphic regimes. The eight populations studied could be divided into two groups on the basis of their mean foliar δ13C values, one group consisting of three populations with mean δ13C values ca.-26‰ and another group with δ13C values ca.-28‰. Less negative δ13C values appeared to be associated with reduced physiological availability of soil moisture resulting from hypoxic conditions at a poorly drained high elevation bog site and from low precipitation at a welldrained, low elevation leeward site. Gas exchange measurements indicated that foliar δ13C and intrinsic wateruse efficiency were positively correlated. Maximum photosynthetic rates were nearly constant while maximum stomatal conductance varied substantially in individuals with foliar δ13C ranging from-29 to-24‰. In contrast with the patterns of δ13C observed, leaf nitrogen content appeared to be genetically determined and independent of site characteristics. Photosynthetic nitrogenuse efficiency was nearly constant over the range of δ13C observed, suggesting that a compromise between intrinsic water- and N-use efficiency did not occur. In one population variations in foliar δ13C and gas exchange with leaf cohort age, caused the ratio of intercellular to atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 predicted from gas exchange and that calculated from δ13C to be in close agreement only in the two youngest cohorts of fully expanded leaves. The results indicated that with suitable precautions concerning measurement protocol, foliar δ13C and gas exchange measurements were reliable indicators of potential resource use efficiency by M. polymorpha along environmental gradients.

Key words

Carbon isotope ratio Gas exchange Metrosideros Nitrogen-use efficiency Water-use efficiency Bog 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. C. Meinzer
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. W. Rundel
    • 1
  • G. Goldstein
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. R. Sharifi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biomedical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Hawaiian Sugar Planters' AssociationAieaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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