Plant Ecology

, Volume 215, Issue 7, pp 733–746 | Cite as

Acclimation effects of heat waves and elevated [CO2] on gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings

  • Ingvar BauweraertsEmail author
  • Maarten Ameye
  • Timothy M. Wertin
  • Mary Anne McGuire
  • Robert O. Teskey
  • Kathy Steppe


Heat wave frequency and intensity are predicted to increase. We investigated whether repeated exposure to heat waves would induce acclimation in Quercus rubra seedlings and considered [CO2] as an interacting factor. We measured gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence of seedlings grown in 380 (C A) or 700 (C E) μmol CO2 mol−1, and three temperature treatments (ambient, ambient +3 °C, and an ambient +12 °C heat wave every fourth week). Measurements were performed during the third and fourth +12 °C heat waves (July and August 2010) at Whitehall Forest, GA, USA. Additionally, previously unexposed seedlings were subjected to the August heat wave to serve as a control to determine acclimation of seedlings which were previously exposed. Seedlings with a history of heat wave exposure showed lower net photosynthesis (A net) and stomatal conductance (on average −47 and −38 %, respectively) than seedlings with no such history, when both were subjected to the same +12 °C heat wave. During both heat waves, A net significantly declined in the +12 °C treatment compared with the other treatments. Additionally, the A net decline during the August compared with the July heat wave was stronger in C E than in C A, suggesting that elevated [CO2] might have had a negative effect on acclimation capacity. We conclude that seedlings subjected to consecutive heat waves will moderate stomatal conductance outside the heat wave, to reduce water usage at lower temperatures, increasing survival at the expense of carbon assimilation.


Acclimation Chlorophyll fluorescence Climate change Elevated [CO2Heat wave Photosynthesis Quercus rubra Seedlings Stomatal conductance 



We thank the CWO, Ghent University, for a grant allowing the participation of IB and MA. This work was supported by a Grant to ROT from the United States Department of Energy NICCR Program (Grant: 07-SC-NICCR-1060).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingvar Bauweraerts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maarten Ameye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timothy M. Wertin
    • 3
  • Mary Anne McGuire
    • 4
  • Robert O. Teskey
    • 4
  • Kathy Steppe
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Agrozoology, Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Institute for Genomic BiologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  4. 4.Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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