U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


The Energetic and Carbon Economic Origins of Leaf Thermoregulation
Published: August 22, 2016
Posted: June 15, 2017

The Science 
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. 

The Impact
This paper provides the first large advance in our understanding of leaf thermoregulation, and is thus likely to be tested widely.

Summary
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)
Daniel Stover
SC-23.1
Daniel.Stover@science.doe.gov (301-903-0289)

(PI Contact)
Nate McDowell
Pacific Northwest National Lab
nate.mcdowell@pnnl.gov

Funding
Funding was provided by DOE, Office of Science, NGEE-Tropics, via LANL LDRD, via NSF, and via the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. 

Publications
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.

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)