Changes in photosynthesis during leaf expansion in Corymbia gummifera

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian Journal of Botany, 2003, 51 (1), pp. 111 - 118
Issue Date:
2003-04-08
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Growth, pigment levels and various photosynthesis parameters were measured in expanding leaves of Corymbia gummifera (Solander ex Gaertner) Hochreutiner. C. gummifera trees were studied growing in sandstone plateau woodland communities in Royal National Park, New South Wales, in a recently burned open habitat. Young leaves (horizontally oriented to maximise light exposure) were found to be conspicuously red until they reached approximately 75% of their full size. As the leaves expanded, anthocyanin content declined and chlorophyll levels proportionately increased. Young red leaves showed net negative carbon assimilation rates, although CO2assimilation rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, actual quantum yield of PSII (ΦPSII) and apparent electron transport rate (ETR) all increased in a similar pattern as the leaves expanded. Measurements of maximum quantum yield of dark-adapted leaves (Fv/Fm) were also correlated with leaf area. Younger leaves had lower Fv/Fmratios than did mature leaves, whether measured at midday or 2 h after sunset, indicating that young leaves exhibited some degree of chronic photoinhibition. It is concluded that C. gummifera exhibits a transient red pattern of anthocyanin expression and that photosynthesis is limited in young leaves because of low stomatal conductance, low chlorophyll content, immature chloroplasts and an attenuation of light caused by anthocyanins.
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