, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 295–304 | Cite as

Variations in leaf respiration across different seasons for Mediterranean evergreen species

  • R. Catoni
  • L. Varone
  • L. Gratani


Leaf respiration (R L) of evergreen species co-occurring in the Mediterranean maquis developing along the Latium coast was analyzed. The results on the whole showed that the considered evergreen species had the same R L trend during the year, with the lowest rates [0.83 ± 0.43 μmol(CO2) m−2 s−1, mean value of the considered species] in winter, in response to low air temperatures. Higher R L were reached in spring [2.44 ± 1.00 μmol(CO2) m−2 s−1, mean value] during the favorable period, and in summer [3.17 ± 0.89 μmol(CO2) m−2 s−1] during drought. The results of the regression analysis showed that 42% of R L variations depended on mean air temperature and 13% on total monthly rainfall. Among the considered species, C. incanus, was characterized by the highest R L in drought [4.93 ± 0.27 μmol(CO2) m−2 s−1], low leaf water potential at predawn (Ψpd= −1.08 ± 0.18 MPa) and midday (Ψmd = −2.75 ± 0.11 MPa) and low relative water content at predawn (RWCpd = 80.5 ± 3.4%) and midday (RWCmd = 67.1 ± 4.6%). Compared to C. incanus, the sclerophyllous species (Q. ilex, P. latifolia, P. lentiscus, A. unedo) and the liana (S. aspera), had lower R L [2.72 ± 0.66 μmol(CO2) m−2 s−1, mean value of the considered species], higher RWCpd (91.8 ± 1.8%), RWCmd (82.4 ± 3.2%), Ψpd (−0.65 ± 0.28 MPa) and Ψmd (−2.85 ± 1.20 MPa) in drought. The narrow-leaved species (E. multiflora, R. officinalis, and E. arborea) were in the middle. The coefficients, proportional to the respiration increase for each 10°C rise (Q10), ranging from 1.49 (E. arborea) to 1.98 (A. unedo) were indicative of the different sensitivities of the considered species to air temperature variation.

Additional key words

drought leaf respiration Mediterranean evergreen species water stress 



the coefficient proportional to the respiration increase for each 10°C rise


total monthly rainfall


leaf respiration


relative water content at predawn


relative water content at midday


soil water content


air temperature


predawn leaf water potential


midday leaf water potential


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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