Intrinsic climate dependency of ecosystem light and water-use-efficiencies across Australian biomes

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Research Letters, 2014, 9 (10)
Issue Date:
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© 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd. The sensitivity of ecosystem gross primary production (GPP) to availability of water and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) differs among biomes. Here we investigated variations of ecosystem light-use-efficiency (eLUE: GPP/PAR) and water-use-efficiency (eWUE: GPP/evapotranspiration) among seven Australian eddy covariance sites with differing annual precipitation, species composition and temperature. Changes to both eLUE and eWUE were primarily correlated with atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD) at multiple temporal scales across biomes, with minor additional correlations observed with soil moisture and temperature. The effects of leaf area index on eLUE and eWUE were also relatively weak compared to VPD, indicating an intrinsic dependency of eLUE and eWUE on climate. Additionally, eLUE and eWUE were statistically different for biomes between summer and winter, except eWUE for savannas and the grassland. These findings will improve our understanding of how light- and water-use traits in Australian ecosystems may respond to climate change.
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