The research described in this paper uses a variety of global datasets to support theory suggesting that plants maximize carbon gain, in part, via myriad traits that regulate temperature near the optimum for photosynthesis.
This paper provides the first large advance in our understanding of leaf thermoregulation, and is thus likely to be tested widely.
Leaf thermoregulation has been rarely documented, and its control is unknown. However, leaf temperature is one of the most critical parameters regulating photosynthesis in Earth System Models. Improving its understanding has widespread fundamental and applied (e.g., modeling) value. We tested a novel carbon and energy-based theory using multiple global datasets of leaf temperature and photosynthesis, along with myriad leaf traits. The theory was supported by the data, and demonstrated that leaf thermoregulation does act to maximize photosynthesis. This paper has broad implications for fundamental biology and for applied modeling of ecosystems.
Contacts (BER PM)
Pacific Northwest National Lab
Funding was provided by DOE, Office of Science, NGEE-Tropics, via LANL LDRD, via NSF, and via the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
Michaletz, S.T., Weiser, M.D., McDowell, N.G., Zhou, J., Kaspari, M., Helliker, B.R. and Enquist, B.J., 2016. The energetic and carbon economic origins of leaf thermoregulation. Nature Plants, 2, p.16129. DOI:10.1038/nplants.2016.129.
SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
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