, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 1161–1170 | Cite as

Chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange measurements in field research: an ecological case study

  • S. F. Bucher
  • M. Bernhardt–Römermann
  • C. Römermann
Original paper


We tested whether cheap and quick chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence can be used in ecophysiological field studies as proxies for gas-exchange measurements. We measured net photosynthetic rate at saturating irradiance and ambient atmospheric CO2 concentrations (PNsat), maximum carboxylation rate (Vcmax), maximum quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm), the performance index (PIabs), leaf nitrogen (Narea), and carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) within four herbaceous species along two elevational gradients. We analysed the relationship between Chl fluorescence and gas-exchange parameters and their link to indirect assessment of plant performance via ecophysiological traits. Fv/Fm showed no relationship to PNsat and only weak relationships to Vcmax. PIabs was positively related to PNsat and Vcmax. PIabs, PNsat, and Vcmax were positively associated with Narea and negatively to Δ13C, whereas Fv/Fm showed no relationship to Narea and a positive to Δ13C. Thus, PIabs might be suitable to characterize the photosynthetic activity when aiming on large numbers of samples.

Additional key words

Aposeris foetida carbon isotope discrimination Knautia dipsacifolia leaf nitrogen Mercurialis perennis Trifolium pratense 





maximum quantum yield of PSII


area based leaf nitrogen content


absorption based performance index


net photosynthetic rate at saturating irradiance and ambient atmospheric CO2 concentrations


maximum carboxylation rate


carbon isotope discrimination


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. F. Bucher
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Bernhardt–Römermann
    • 1
  • C. Römermann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Evolution with Herbarium Haussknecht and Botanical GardenFriedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle–Jena–LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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