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

BER Research Highlights

Pragmatic Hydraulic Theory Predicts Stomatal Responses to Climatic Water Deficits
Published: June 22, 2016
Posted: June 25, 2018

The Science
This paper introduces a new approach to modeling stomatal function based on trait-based hydraulics. 

The Impact
This model will radically simplify, yet improve, Earth System Models, once incorporated.

Earth System Models do not simulate stomatal conductance, and hence photosynthesis, correctly.  Here, a team from the NGEE-Tropics project introduce a simple, mechanistically accurate modeling approach.  The model validated particularly well against multiple empirical datasets.  Furthermore, the team proposes ways this model can be incorporated into Earth System Models (ESM), thus greatly improving ESM realism and accuracy.

Contacts (BER PM)
Daniel Stover

Dorothy Koch

(PI Contact)
Nate McDowell
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Funding was provided by the US Department of Energy Office of Science NGEE Tropics and NSF. 

Sperry, J.S., Y. Wang, B.T. Wolfe, D.S. Mackay, W.R. Anderegg, N.G. McDowell, and W.T. Pockman.  “Pragmatic hydraulic theory predicts stomatal responses to climatic water deficits.” New Phytologist 212(3), 577-589 (2016). [DOI:10.1111/nph.14059

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environment Systems Data Management
  • Research Area: Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)

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


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