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PI-Submitted Research Highlights for
Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Program

Pragmatic Hydraulic Theory Predicts Stomatal Responses to Climatic Water Deficits

Nate McDowell


7 April 2017

Model validated particularly well against multiple empirical datasets.

The Science  
This study 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 Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics project introduce a modeling approach that is simple yet mechanistically accurate. The model validated particularly well against multiple empirical datasets.  Furthermore, the researchers propose ways this model can be incorporated into Earth system models, thus greatly improving their realism and accuracy.

BER Program Managers
Daniel Stover
Terrestrial Ecosystem Science, SC-23.1 (301-903-0289)

Dorothy Koch
SC-23.1 (301-903-0105)

Principal Investigator
Nate McDowell
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, WA 99354

Funding was provided by the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics project of the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, and by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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


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