Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 187–194 | Cite as

Stomatal opening in response to the simultaneous increase in vapor pressure deficit and temperature over a 24-h period under constant light in a tropical rainforest of the central Amazon



Stomatal functioning is modulated by several factors and, in most circumstances, stomatal aperture declines with increasing leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference (VPDL) and temperature, but stomatal functioning under the humid conditions of the tropical rainforest understory has been scarcely investigated. The aim of this study was to determine how stomatal conductance of saplings responds to the changing understory temperatures of a tropical rainforest. We measured gas-exchange in four saplings of Guarea carinata (1–2 m tall). On each plant, stomatal conductance (g s), VPDL and leaf temperature were measured continuously at 3-min intervals during 24 h. We used a constant irradiance of 50 µmol m−2 s−1 and nearly constant relative humidity (75.8 ± 1.9%). Within the leaf chamber, leaf temperature over plants varied from 25.8 to 30.7 °C and VPDL from 0.62 to 0.93 kPa. Contrary to expectations, g s increased with the increase in leaf temperature and VPDL, and throughout the 24-h cycle, g s was maximum (0.123 mol m−2 s−1) at midday when temperatures were higher and minimum (0.016 mol m−2 s−1) after midnight, when the lower temperatures were recorded. There was a positive relationship between g s and both leaf temperature (p < 0.0001) and VPDL (p < 0.0001). If global temperature continues to increase as predicted by models, the direct increase in g s of saplings associated with an increase in temperature can be nullified if global warming negatively affects the water balance of plants (e.g. Guarea carinata) in this part of the Amazon.


Amazonia Circadian rhythms Chlorophyll fluorescence Guard cell back-pressure Stomatal conductance 



Maximal quantum yield of photosystem II


Stomatal conductance


Stomatal conductance at 50 µmol m−2 s−1


Standardized g s50 obtained by subtracting the mean of the corresponding leaf from each value recorded


Photosynthetic photon flux density


Relative humidity


RH within the leaf chamber


Air temperature


Leaf temperature


Leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference



To the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC), Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (MCTI-CNPq) for scholarship. Author contributions: KRM.: collected data in the field; RAM.: planned the experiment and wrote the article with the contributions of the first author.

Founding agency

Foundation for Research Support of the State of Amazonas (UA-062.03164.12).


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Copyright information

© Brazilian Society of Plant Physiology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botany Graduate ProgramNational Institute for Research in the AmazonManausBrazil
  2. 2.Tree Ecophysiology Laboratory, Coordination of Environmental DynamicNational Institute for Research in the AmazonManausBrazil

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