, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 712–721 | Cite as

Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and drought stress on leaf water potential and growth in Caragana intermedia

  • Chun-Wang XiaoEmail author
  • Osbert J. Sun
  • Guang-Sheng Zhou
  • Jing-Zhu Zhao
  • Gang Wu
Original Article


We studied the responses of leaf water potential (Ψw), morphology, biomass accumulation and allocation, and canopy productivity index (CPI) to the combined effects of elevated CO2 and drought stress in Caragana intermedia seedlings. Seedlings were grown at two CO2 concentrations (350 and 700 μmol mol−1) interacted with three water regimes (60–70%, 45–55%, and 30–40% of field capacity of soil). Elevated CO2 significantly increased Ψw, decreased specific leaf area (SLA) and leaf area ratio (LAR) of drought-stressed seedlings, and increased tree height, basal diameter, shoot biomass, root biomass as well as total biomass under the all the three water regimes. Growth responses to elevated CO2 were greater in well-watered seedlings than in drought-stressed seedlings. CPI was significantly increased by elevated CO2, and the increase in CPI became stronger as the level of drought stress increased. There were significant interactions between elevated CO2 and drought stress on leaf water potential, basal diameter, leaf area, and biomass accumulation. Our results suggest that elevated CO2 may enhance drought avoidance and improved water relations, thus weakening the effect of drought stress on growth of C. intermedia seedings.


Biomass allocation Canopy production index Morphology Specific leaf area Caragana intermedia 



The work was financially supported by the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX1-SW-01-12) and the Project was sponsored by SRF for ROCS, SEM. The authors are very grateful to Prof. Xin-Shi Zhang, Prof. Lian-Min Wang, and Dr. Zhen-Zhu Xu for their constructive comments and help with the research


  1. Bazzaz FA (1990) The response of natural ecosystems to the rising global CO2 levels. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 21:167–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beadle CL (1993) Growth analysis. In: Hall DO, Scurlock JMO, Bolhar-Nordenkampf HR, Leegood RC, Long SP (eds) Photosynthesis and production in a changing environment, a field and laboratory manual. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 36–46Google Scholar
  3. Bhattacharya NC, Hileman DR, Ghosh PP, Musser RL, Bhattacharya S, Biswas PK (1990) Interaction of enriched CO2 and water stress on the physiology of and biomass production in sweet potato grown in open-top chambers. Plant Cell Environ 13:933–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brouwer R (1963) Some aspects of the equilibrium between overground and underground plant parts. Jaarboek IBS, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  5. Calfapietra C, Gielen B, Galema ANJ, Lukac M, De Angelis P, Moscatelli MC, Ceulemans R, Scarascia-Mugnozza G (2003) Free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) enhances biomass production in a short-rotation poplar plantation. Tree Physiol 23:805–814PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Centritto M, Lee HSJ, Jarvis PG (1999) Interactive effects of elevated [CO2] and drought on cherry (Prunus avium) seedlings I. Growth, whole-plant water use efficiency, and water loss. New Phytol 141:129–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ceulemans R, Mousseau M (1994) Tansley Review no. 71: Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on woody plants. New Phytol 127:425–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chartzoulakis K, Noitsakis B, Therios I (1993) Photosynthesis, plant growth, and dry matter distribution in kiwifruit as influenced by water deficits. Irrig Sci 14:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark H, Newton PCD, Barker DJ (1999) Physiological and morphological responses to elevated CO2 and soil moisture deficit of temperate pasture species growing in an established plant community. J Exp Bot 50:233–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clifford SC, Stronach IM, Mohamed AD, Azam-Ali SN, Crout NMJ (1993) The effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and water stress on light interception, dry mass production, and yield in stands of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.). J Exp Bot 44:1763–1770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Danin A (1996) Plants of desert dunes. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. De Luis I, Irigoyen JJ, Sanchez-Diaz M (1999) Elevated CO2 enhances plant growth in droughted N2-fixing alfalfa without improving water status. Physiol Plant 107:84–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Derner JD, Johnson HB, Kimball BA, Pinter PJ Jr, Polley HW, Tischler CR, Boutton TW, Lamorte RL, Wall GW, Adam NR, Leavitt SW, Ottman MJ, Matthias AD, Brooks TJ (2003) Above- and below-ground responses of C3-C4 species mixtures to elevated CO2 and soil water availability. Global Change Biol 9:452–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Drake BG, Gonzalez-Meler MA (1997) More efficient plants: a consequence of rising atmospheric CO2? Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 48:609–639CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. El Kohen A, Mousseau M (1994) Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and mineral nutrition on growth and CO2 exchange of sweet chestnut seedlings (Castanea sativa). Tree Physiol 14:697–690Google Scholar
  16. El Kohen A, Rouhier H, Mousseau M (1992) Changes in dry weight and nitrogen partitioning induced by elevated CO2 depend on soil nutrient availability in sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill). Ann Sci For 49:83–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fernández RJ, Wang MB, Reynolds JF (2002) Do morphological changes mediate plant responses to water stress? A steady-state experiment with two C4 grasses. New Phytol 155:79–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fu CB, An ZS (2002) Study of aridification in northern China—A global change issue facing directly the demand of nation. Earth Sci Front 9:271–275Google Scholar
  19. Grant RF, Wall GW, Kimball BA, Frumau KFA, Pinter PJ Jr, Hunsaker DJ, LaMorte RL (1999) Crop water relations under different CO2 and irrigation: testing of ecosys with the free air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment. Agric For Meteorol 95:27–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gregory JM, Mitchell JFB, Brady AJ (1997) Summer drought in northern midlatitudes in a time-dependent CO2 climate experiment. J Climate 10:662–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Guehl JM, Picon C, Aussenac G, Gross P (1994) Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and soil drought on growth and transpiration efficiency and its determinants in two European trees species. Tree Physiol 14:707–724PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Dai X, Maskell K, Johnson CA (2001) IPCC 2001: climate change 2001: the scientific basis. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Hsiao TC, Acevedo E (1974) Plant responses to water deficits, water use efficiency, and drought resistance. Agric For Meteorol 14:69–84Google Scholar
  24. Hsiao TC, Jing J (1987) Leaf and root expansion growth in response to water deficits. In: Cosgrove DJ, Knievel DP (eds) Physiology of cell expansion during plant growth. American Society of Plant Physiology, Rockville, MD, pp 180–192Google Scholar
  25. Idso SB (1988) Three phases of plant response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Plant Physiol 87:5–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jach ME, Ceulemans R (1999) Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on phenology, growth, and crown structure of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seedlings after two years of exposure in the field. Tree Physiol 19:289–300PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Jach ME, Laureysens I, Ceulemans R (2000) Above- and below-ground production of young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees after three years of growth in the field under elevated CO2. Ann Bot 85:789–798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Janssens IA, Medlyn B, Gielen B, Laureysens I, Jach ME, van Hove D, Ceulemans R (2005) Carbon budget of Pinus sylvestris saplings after four years of exposure to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Tree Physiol 25:325–337PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Keeling CD, Whorf TP, Wahlen M, van der Plicht J (1995) Interannual extremes in the rate of rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1980. Nature 375:660–670Google Scholar
  30. Kimball BA, Pinter PJ, Garcia RL, LaMorte RL, Wall GW, Hunsaker DJ, Wechsung G, Wechsung F, Kartschall T (1995) Productivity and water use of wheat under free-air carbon dioxide enrichment. Global Change Biol 1:429–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kirkham MB, He H, Bolger TP, Lawlor DJ, Kanemasu ET (1991) Leaf photosynthesis and water use of big bluestem under elevated carbon dioxide. Crop Sci 31:1589–1594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kramer PJ (1983) Water relations of plants. Academic, New York, 489ppGoogle Scholar
  33. Marks S, Strain BR (1989) Effects of drought and CO2 enrichment on competition between two old-field perennials. New Phytol 111:181–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marron N, Dreyer E, Boudouresque E, Delay D, Petit JM, Delmotte FM, Brignolas F (2003) Impact of successive drought and re-watering cycles on growth and specific leaf area of two Populus canadensis (Moench) clones, ‘Dorskamp’ and ‘Luisa_Avanzo’. Tree Physiol 23:1225–1235PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Mo G, Nie D, Kirkham MB, He H, Ballou LK, Caldwell FW, Kanemasu ET (1992) Root and shoot weight in a tallgrass prairie under elevated carbon dioxide. Environ Exp Bot 32:193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Morison JIL, Gifford RM (1984) Plant growth and water use with limited water supply in high CO2 concentrations. I. Plant dry weight, partitioning, and water-use efficiency. Aust J Plant Physiol 11:375–384Google Scholar
  37. Morison JIL, Lawlor DW (1999) Interactions between increasing CO2 concentration and temperature on plant growth. Plant Cell Environ 22:659–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nelson CJ, MacAdam JW (1989) Cellular dynamics in the leaf growth zone. Curr Top Plant Biochem Physiol 8:207–223Google Scholar
  39. Norby RJ, O’Neill EG (1991) Leaf area compensation and nutrient interactions in CO2-enriched seedlings of yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.). New Phytol 117:515–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Norby RJ, Todd DE, Fults J, Johnson DW (2001) Allometric determination of tree growth in a CO2-enriched sweetgum stand. New Phytol 150:477–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ottman MJ, Kimball BA, Pinter PJ, Wall GW, Vanderlip RL, Leavitt SW, LaMorte RL, Matthias AD, Brooks TJ (2001) Elevated CO2 increases sorghum biomass under drought conditions. New Phytol 150:261–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pinter PJ Jr, Kimball BA, Garcia RL, Wall GW, Hunsaker DJ, LaMorte RL (1996) Free-air CO2 enrichment: responses of cotton and wheat crops. In: Koch GW, Mooney HA (eds) Carbon dioxide and terrestrial ecosystems. Academic, San Diego, CA, pp 215–264Google Scholar
  43. Poorter H, Roument C, Campbell BD (1996) Interspecific variation in the growth response of plants to elevated CO2: a search for functional types. In: Körner C, Bazzaz FA (eds) Carbon dioxide, populations, and communities. Academic, San Diego, CA, pp 375–411Google Scholar
  44. Prior SA, Roger HH, Sionit N, Patterson RP (1991) Effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on water relations of soyabean. Agr Ecosyst Environ 35:13–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rogers HH, Prior SA, Runion GB (1996) Root to shoot ratio of crops as influenced by CO2. Plant Soil 187:229–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Serraj R, Allen LH, Sinclair TR (1999) Soybean leaf growth and gas exchange response to drought under carbon dioxide enrichment. Global Change Biol 5:283–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sigurdsson BD, Thorgeirsson H, Linder S (2001) Growth and dry-matter partitioning of young Populus trichocarpa trees during three years of elevated CO2 and fertilisation. Tree Physiol 21:941–950PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Sionit N, Hellmers H, Strain BR (1980) Growth and yield of wheat under CO2 enrichment and water stress. Crop Sci 20:687–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Townend J (1993) Effects of elevated carbon dioxide and drought on the growth and physiology of clonal Sitka spruce plants (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) (Carr.). Tree Physiol 13:389–399PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Townend J (1995) Effects of elevated CO2, water, and nutrient on Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. seedlings. New Phytol 130:193–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tschaplinski TJ, Stewart DB, Hanson PJ, Norby RJ (1995) Interactions between drought and on elevated CO2 growth and gas exchange of seedlings of three deciduous tree species. New Phytol 129:63–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Turner NC, Kramer PJ (1980) Adaptation of plants to water and high temperature stress. Wiley, New York, 482Google Scholar
  53. van Hees AFM (1997) Growth and morphology of pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L) and beech (Fagus sylvatica L) seedlings in relation to shading and drought. Ann Sci For 54:9–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wall GW (2001) Elevated atmospheric CO2 alleviates drought stress in wheat. Agr Ecosyst Environ 87:261–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wall GW, Brooks TJ, Adam NR, Cousins AB, Kimball BA, Pinter PJ Jr, LaMorte RL, Triggs J, Ottman ML, Leavitt SW, Matthias AD, Williams DG, Webber AN (2001) Elevated atmospheric CO2 improved sorghum plant water status by ameliorating the adverse effects of drought. New Phytol 152:231–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ward JK, Tissue DT, Thomas RB, Strain BR (1999) Comparative responses of model C3 and C4 plants to drought in low and elevated CO2. Global Change Biol 5:857–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Watson RT, Rodhe H, Oeschger H, Seigenthaler U (1990) Greenhouse gases and aerosols. In: Houghton JT, Jenkins GJ, Ephraums JJ (eds) Climate change. The IPCC scientific assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1–40Google Scholar
  58. Wullschleger SD, Tschaplinski TJ, Norby RJ (2002) Plant water relations at elevated CO2—implications for water-limited environments. Plant Cell Environ 25:319–331CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Xiao CW, Zhou GS (2001) Effect of simulated precipitation change on growth, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence of Caragana intermedia Kuanget H.C.Fu in Maowusu sandland. Chin J Appl Ecol 12:692–696Google Scholar
  60. Xiao CW, Zhou GS, Ma FY (2002) Effect of water supply change on morphology and growth of dominant plants in Maowusu sandland. Acta Phytoecol Sin 26(1):69–76Google Scholar
  61. Zhang P, Shao G, Zhao G, Master DCL, Parker GR, Dunning JB, Li Q (2000) China’s forest policy for the 21st century. Science 288:2135–2136CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhang X, Zang R, Li C (2004) Population differences in physiological and morphological adaptations of Populus davidiana seedlings in response to progressive drought stress. Plant Sci 166:791–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhang XS (1994) The ecological background of the Maowusu sandland the principles and optimal models for grass land management. Acta Photoecol Sin 18:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chun-Wang Xiao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Osbert J. Sun
    • 1
  • Guang-Sheng Zhou
    • 1
  • Jing-Zhu Zhao
    • 2
  • Gang Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation EcologyInstitute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP.R. China
  2. 2.Department of Systems Ecology, Research Center For Eco-Environmental SciencesThe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP.R. China

Personalised recommendations