The ecophysiology of Allosyncarpia ternata (Myrtaceae) in Northern Australia:Tree physiognomy, leaf characteristics and assimilation at contrasting sites

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian Journal of Botany, 1995, 43 (4), pp. 367 - 377
Issue Date:
1995-01-01
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Allosyncarpia ternata S.T. Blake, a large, evergreen tree endemic to the northern part of the Northern Territory, Australia, dominates the canopy in a wide variety of habitats, including monsoon rainforest on ravine floors, open forest and woodland on cliffs, screes and sandsheets, and open woodland on ridges and hilltops. This study examines tree physiognomy, leaf characteristics and leaf assimilation rates of A. ternata growing at sites with strongly contrasting micro-climates near Baroalba Springs, Kakadu National Park. By comparison with trees growing on the ravine floor, cliff and hilltop trees are generally shorter, they branch lower, are more frequently multi stemmed and have higher ratios of canopy width to height, while their leaves are generally smaller and thicker and contain less chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b per unit dry weight. They have lower mean specific leaf areas and higher mean stomatal densities. Assimilation measurements on leaves at a cliff site showed significantly higher rates of light-saturated assimilation during the morning than in the afternoon. On the ravine floor, by contrast, assimilation responses to changes in light flux density did not vary significantly through the day. Leaves of trees growing on the ravine floor had lower values oi light-saturated assimilation and light compensation point, and higher values of apparent quantum yield than cliffside leaves. © 1995 CSIRO. All rights reserved.
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