Photosynthetic and stomatal conductance responses of Norway spruce and beech to ozone, acid mist and frost-a conceptual model

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Journal Article
Environmental Pollution, 1991, 72 (1), pp. 23 - 44
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Two-year-old beech and Norway spruce seedlings were exposed to a combination of ozone and acid mist treatments in open-top chambers in Scotland during the months of July through to September 1988. Replicate pairs of chambers received charcoal-filtered air (control), ozone-enriched air (140 nl ozone litre-1) or 140 nl ozone litre-1 plus a synthetic acid mist (pH 2·5) composed of ammonium nitrate and sulphuric acid. Field measurements of assimilation and stomatal conductance were made during August. In addition, measurements of assimilation and conductance were made during September in the laboratory. Light response curves of assimilation and conductance were determined using a GENSTAT nonrectangular hyperbolic model. During February 1988/9 the Norway spruce were subject to a four day warming period at 12°C and the light response of assimilation determined. The same plants were then subject to a 3-h night-time frost of -10°C. The following day the time-course of the recovery of assimilation was determined. It was found that ozone fumigation did not influence the light response of assimilation of beech trees in the field, although stomatal conductance was reduced in the ozone-fumigated trees. The rate of light-saturated assimilation of Norway spruce was increased by ozone fumigation when measured in the field. Measurements of assimilation of Norway spruce made during the winter showed that prior to rewarming there was no difference in the rate of light-saturated assimilation for control and ozone-fumigated trees. However, the ozone plus acid mist-treated trees exhibited a significantly higher rate. The 4-day period of warming to 12°C increased the rate of light-saturated assimilation in all treatments but only the ozone plus acid mist-treated trees showed a significant increase. Following a 3-h frost to -10°C the control trees exhibited a reduction in the rate of light-saturated assimilation (Amax) to 80% of the pre-frost value. In comparison, following the frost, the ozone-fumigated trees showed an Amax of 74% of the pre-frost value. The ozone plus acid mist-treated trees showed an Amax of 64% of the pre-frost trees. The time taken for Amax to attain 50% of the pre-frost value increased from 30 min (control) to 85 min for ozone-fumigated trees to 190 min (ozone plus acid mist). These results are discussed in relation to the impact of mild, short-term frosts, which are known to occur with greater frequency than extreme, more catastrophic frost events. A simple conceptual framework is proposed to explain the variable results obtained in the literature with respect to the impact of ozone upon tree physiology. © 1991.
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