, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 431–437 | Cite as

Photosynthetic Characteristics, Dark Respiration, and Leaf Mass Per Unit Area in Seedlings of Four Tropical Tree Species Grown Under Three Irradiances

  • Y.-L. Feng
  • K.-F. Cao
  • J.-L. Zhang


We investigated the effect of growth irradiance (I) on photon-saturated photosynthetic rate (Pmax), dark respiration rate (RD), carboxylation efficiency (CE), and leaf mass per unit area (LMA) in seedlings of the following four tropical tree species with contrasting shade-tolerance. Anthocephalus chinensis (Rubiaceae) and Linociera insignis (Oleaceae) are light-demanding, Barringtonia macrostachya (Lecythidaceae) and Calophyllum polyanthum (Clusiaceae) are shade-tolerant. Their seedlings were pot-planted under shading nets with 8, 25, and 50 % daylight for five months. With increase of I, all species displayed the trends of increases of LMA, photosynthetic saturation irradiance, and chlorophyll-based Pmax, and decreases of chlorophyll (Chl) content on both area and mass bases, and mass-based Pmax, RD, and CE. The area-based Pmax and CE increased with I for the light-demanders only. Three of the four species significantly increased Chl-based CE with I. This indicated the increase of nitrogen (N) allocation to carboxylation enzyme relative to Chl with I. Compared to the two shade-tolerants, under the same I, the two light-demanders had greater area- and Chl-based Pmax, photosynthetic saturation irradiance, lower Chl content per unit area, and greater plasticity in LMA and area- or Chl-based Pmax. Our results support the hypothesis that light-demanding species is more plastic in leaf morphology and physiology than shade-tolerant species, and acclimation to I of tropical seedlings is more associated with leaf morphological adjustment relative to physiology. Leaf nitrogen partitioning between photosynthetic enzymes and Chl also play a role in the acclimation to I.

acclimation to irradiance Anthocephalus Barringtonia Calophyllum carboxylation efficiency chlorophyll leaf mass per unit area Linociera net photosynthetic rate nitrogen 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y.-L. Feng
    • 1
  • K.-F. Cao
    • 1
  • J.-L. Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesChina

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