Oecologia

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 215–224 | Cite as

Photosynthetic responses to light in seedlings of selected Amazonian and Australian rainforest tree species

  • J. H. Langenheim
  • C. B. Osmond
  • A. Brooks
  • P. J. Ferrar
Original Papers

Summary

Seedlings of the Caesalpinoids Hymenaea courbaril, H. parvifolia and Copaifera venezuelana, emergent trees of Amazonian rainforest canopies, and of the Araucarian conifers Agathis microstachya and A. robusta, important elements in tropical Australian rainforests, were grown at 6% (shade) and 100% full sunlight (sun) in glasshouses. All species produced more leaves in full sunlight than in shade and leaves of sun plants contained more nitrogen and less chlorophyll per unit leaf area, and had a higher specific leaf weight than leaves of shade plants. The photosynthetic response curves as a function of photon flux density for leaves of shade-grown seedlings showed lower compensation points, higher quantum yields and lower respiration rates per unit leaf area than those of sun-grown seedlings. However, except for A. robusta, photosynthetic acclimation between sun and shade was not observed; the light saturated rates of assimilation were not significantly different. Intercellular CO2 partial pressure was similar in leaves of sun and shade-grown plants, and assimilation was limited more by intrinsic mesophyll factors than by stomata. Comparison of assimilation as a function of intercellular CO2 partial pressure in sun- and shade-grown Agathis spp. showed a higher initial slope in leaves of sun plants, which was correlated with higher leaf nitrogen content. Assimilation was reduced at high transpiration rates and substantial photoinhibition was observed when seedlings were transferred from shade to sun. However, after transfer, newly formed leaves in A. robusta showed the same light responses as leaves of sun-grown seedlings. These observations on the limited potential for acclimation to high light in leaves of seedlings of rainforest trees are discussed in relation to regeneration following formation of gaps in the canopy.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnon DI (1949) Copper enzymes in isolated chloroplasts. Polyphenol oxidase in Beta vulgaris. Plant Physiol 24:1–15Google Scholar
  2. Ball MC (1981) Physiology of photosynthesis in two mangrove species: responses to salinity and environmental factors. PhD Thesis, Australian National University, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  3. Bazzaz RA, Pickett STA (1980) Physiological ecology of tropical succession: A comparative review. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 11:287–310Google Scholar
  4. Björkman O (1981) Responses to different quantum flux densities. In: Lange OL, Noble PS, Osmond CB, Ziegler H (eds), Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology (New Series) Physiological Ecology I Vol 12A. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 57–102Google Scholar
  5. Björkman O, Holmgren P (1963) Adaptability of the photosynthetic apparatus to light intensity in ecotypes from exposed and shaded habitats. Physiol Plant 16:889–914Google Scholar
  6. Björkman O, Ludlow MM (1972) Characterization of the light climate on the floor of a Queensland rainforest. Carnegie Inst Wash Yearb 71:85–94Google Scholar
  7. Björkman O, Ludlow MM, Morrow PA (1972) Photosynthetic performance of two rainforest species in their native habitats and analysis of their gas exchange. Carnegie Inst Wash Yearb 71:94–102Google Scholar
  8. Boardman NK (1977) Comparative photosynthesis of sun and shade plants. Ann Rev Plant Physiol 28:355–377Google Scholar
  9. Bormann FH (1956) Ecological implications of changes in the photosynthetic response of Pinus taeda seedlings during ontogeny. Ecology 37:70–75Google Scholar
  10. Critchley C, Smillie RM (1981) Leaf chlorophyll fluorescence as an indication of high light stress (photoinhibition) on Cucumis sativus L. Aust J Plant Physiol 67:1161–1165Google Scholar
  11. Farquhar GD, Caemmerer S von (1982) Modelling of photosynthetic response to environmental conditions. In: Lange OL, Nobel PS, Osmond CB, Ziegler H (eds) Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology (New Series) Physiological Ecology II Vol 12B. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 549–587Google Scholar
  12. Ferrar PJ, Osmond CB (1984) Role of nitrogen nutrition in shadesun acclimation by Solanum dulcamara. In: Laisk A, Vijl J (eds) Kinetics of C3 photosynthesis. Estonian Academy of Sciences, (in press)Google Scholar
  13. Fetcher N, Strain BR, Oberbauer S (1983) Effects of canopy disturbance on seedlings of tropical rainforest trees. Oecologia (Berlin) 58:314–319Google Scholar
  14. Hartshorn GS (1980) Neotropical forest dynamics. Tropical Succession, Supplement. Biotropica 12:23–30Google Scholar
  15. Huber O (1978) Light compensation point of vascular plants of a tropical cloud forest and its ecological interpretation. Photosynthetica 12:382–390Google Scholar
  16. Hyland BPM (1978) A revison of the genus Agathis (Araucariaceae) in Australia. Brunonia 1:103–115Google Scholar
  17. Kramer K (1926) Onderzock naar de naturlijke verjonging in den uitkap in Preanger gebergte-bosch. Med Proefst Boschw Bogor 14Google Scholar
  18. Kramer K (1933) Die natuurlijke verjonging in het Goenoeng Gedeh complex. Tectono ab: 156–185Google Scholar
  19. Langenheim JH (1973) Leguminous resin-producing trees in Africa and South America. In: Meggers BJ, Ayensu ES, Duckworth WD (eds) Tropical Forest Ecosystem in Africa and South America. A comparative Review. Smithsonian Press, Washington, D.C., pp 89–104Google Scholar
  20. Langenheim JH (1981) Terpenoids in the Leguminosae. In: Polhill RH, Raven PH (eds) Advances in Legume Systematics, Proc. Int. Legume Congress Royal Bot. Gard., Kew, U.K., pp 627–655Google Scholar
  21. Langenheim JH (1984) Utilization of resins from tropical trees: past, present and future potential. Memoirs New York Bot. Gard. Bronx, N.Y, Special Paper, (in press)Google Scholar
  22. Langenheim JH, Lee YT, Martin SS (1973) An evolutionary and ecological perspective of Amazonian Hylaea species of Hymenaea (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae). Acta Amazonica 3:5–38Google Scholar
  23. Larcher W (1975) Physiological Plant Ecology. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Lebrón ML (1979) An autecological study of Palicourea riparia Bentham as related to rainforest disturbance in Puerto Rico. Oecologia (Berlin) 42:31–46Google Scholar
  25. Lee YT, Langenheim JH (1975) Systematics of the genus Hymenaea (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae Detarieae). Univ. of Calif. Pub. in Botany No. 69:109, University of California, Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  26. Lugo A (1970) Photosynthetic studies on four species of rainforest seedlings. In: Odum HT (ed) A tropical rain forest. US Energy Commission, Washington D.C., pp 181–1102Google Scholar
  27. Matkin DA, Chandler PA (1957) The UC-Type soil mixes. In: Baker KF (ed) The UC System for Producing Healthy Container-Grown Plants. Manual 23. Univ Calif Div Agric Sci Agric Exp Stat Extension ServGoogle Scholar
  28. Medina E, Klinge H (1983) Productivity of tropical forests and tropical woodlands. In: Lange OL, Nobel PS, Osmond CB and Zeigler H (eds) Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology (New Series) Physiological Plant Ecology IV Vol 12D, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 281–303Google Scholar
  29. Meijer W (1970) Regeneration of tropical lowland forest in Sabah, Malaysia, forty years after logging. Malay For 33:204–228Google Scholar
  30. Mooney HA, Björkman O, Hall AE, Medina E, Tomlinson PB (1980) The study of the physiological ecology of tropical plantscurrent status and needs. Bioscience 30:22–36Google Scholar
  31. Mooney HA, Gulmon SL (1982) Constraints on leaf structure and function in reference to herbivory. Bioscience 32:198–206Google Scholar
  32. Morgan DC, Smith H (1981) Non-photosynthetic responses to light quality. In: Lange OL, Nobel PS, Osmond CB, Ziegler H (eds) Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology (New Series) Physiological Ecology I, Vol 12 A, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 109–134Google Scholar
  33. Nicholson DI (1960) Light requirements of seedlings of five species of Dipterocarpaceae. Malay For 23:344–356Google Scholar
  34. Osmond CB (1981) Photorespiration and photoinhibition: some implications for the energetics of photosynthesis. Biochem Biophys Acta 639:77–98Google Scholar
  35. Osmond CB (1983) Interactions between irradiance, nitrogen nutrition and water stress in the sun-shade responses of Solanum dulcamara. Oecologia (Berlin) 57:316–321Google Scholar
  36. Pearcy RW (1983) The light environment and growth of C3 and C4 tree seedlings in the understory of a Hawaiian forest. Oecologia (Berlin) 58:19–25Google Scholar
  37. Pires J, Prance GT (1977) The Amazon forest: a natural heritage to be preserved. In: Prance GT, Elias TS (eds) Extinction is Forever, N.Y. Bot Gard Bronx, NY, pp 158–144Google Scholar
  38. Powles SB, Björkman O (1981) Leaf movement in the shade species Oxalis oregana. II. Role in protection against injury by intense light. Carnegie Inst Wash Yearb 80:63–66Google Scholar
  39. Powles SB, Critchley C (1980) The effect of growth light intensity on photoinhibition of intact attached bean leaflets. Plant Physiol 65:1181–1187Google Scholar
  40. Powles SB, Thorne SW (1981) Effect of high light treatments in inducing photoinhibition of photosynthesis in intact leaves of low-light grown Phaseolus vulgaris and Lastreopsis microsora. Planta 152:471–477Google Scholar
  41. Schreiber U, Fink R, Vidaver W (1977) Fluorescence induction in whole leaves; differentiation between the two leaf sides and adaptation to differing light regimes. Planta 133:121–129Google Scholar
  42. Schulze ED (1982) Plant life forms and their carbon, water and nutrient relations. In: Lange OL, Nobel PS, Osmond CB, and Zeigler H (eds) Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology (New Series) Physiological Plant Ecology II Vol 12 B, Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 615–676Google Scholar
  43. Sharkey TD (1984) Evaporation induced changes in the photosynthetic capacity of leaves. Planta 160:143–150Google Scholar
  44. Shulz JP (1960) Ecological studies on rainforests in Northern Surinam. N.V. Noord-Hollandesche. Uitgivers MaatschappijGoogle Scholar
  45. Stephens GR, Waggoner PE (1970) Carbon dioxide exchange of a tropical rainforest. Part I. Bioscience 20:1050–1053Google Scholar
  46. Stocker O (1931) Über die Assimilationsbedingungen im tropischen Regenwald. Berl. Deut. Bot. Ges 49:267–299Google Scholar
  47. Stocker O (1935) Assimilation und Atmung westjavanischer Tropenbäume. Planta 24:402–445Google Scholar
  48. Stubblebine WH, Langenheim JH, Lincoln DE (1978) Vegetative response to photoperiod in the tropical leguminous tree Hymenaea courbaril. Biotropica 10:18–29Google Scholar
  49. Wallace LL, Dunn EL (1980) Comparative photosynthesis of three gap phase successional tree species. Oecologia (Berlin) 45:331–334Google Scholar
  50. Whitmore TC (1975) Tropical Rainforests of the Far East. (Clarendon Press, Oxford)Google Scholar
  51. Whitmore TC (1977a) Gaps in the forest canopy. In: Tomlinson PB, Zimmerman MH (eds) Tropical Trees as Living Systems, Cambridge Univ Press, pp 639–649Google Scholar
  52. Whitmore TC (1977b) A first look at Agathis. Tropical Forestry Papers, No. 11. Commonwealth Forestry Institute, University of OxfordGoogle Scholar
  53. Whitmore TC (1980) A monograph of Agathis. Plant Syst Evol 135:41–69Google Scholar
  54. Wong SC, Cowan IR, Farquhar GD (1978) Leaf conductance in relation to assimilation in Eucalyptus pauciflora Sieb ex Spreng. Plant Physiol 62:670–674Google Scholar
  55. Wong SC, Cowan IR, Farquhar GD (1979) Stomatal conductance correlates with photosynthetic capacity. Nature 282:424–426Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Langenheim
    • 1
  • C. B. Osmond
    • 1
  • A. Brooks
    • 1
  • P. J. Ferrar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Biology, Research School of Biological SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberra CityAustralia

Personalised recommendations