Title

Leaf-level photosynthetic capacity in lowland Amazonian and high-elevation Andean tropical moist forests of Peru

Authors

Nur H.A. Bahar, ANU Research School of Biology
F. Yoko Ishida, James Cook University, Australia
Lasantha K. Weerasinghe, ANU Research School of Biology
Rossella Guerrieri, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Odhran S. O'Sullivan, ANU Research School of Biology
Keith J. Bloomfield, ANU Research School of Biology
Gregory P. Asner, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Roberta E. Martin, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Jon Lloyd, James Cook University, Australia
Yadvinder Malhi, Oxford Social Sciences Division
Oliver L. Phillips, University of Leeds
Patrick Meir, ANU Research School of Biology
Norma Salinas, Oxford Social Sciences Division
Eric G. Cosio, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
Tomas F. Domingues, Universidade de Sao Paulo - USP
Carlos A. Quesada, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Da Amazonia
Felipe Sinca, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Alberto Escudero Vega, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
Paola P. Zuloaga Ccorimanya, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Jhon del Aguila-Pasquel, Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana
Katherine Quispe Huaypar, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Israel Cuba Torres, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Rosalbina Butrón Loayza, Museo de Historia Natural, Cusco
Yulina Pelaez Tapia, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Judit Huaman Ovalle, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad del Cusco
Benedict M. Long, ANU Research School of Biology
John R. Evans, ANU Research School of Biology
Owen K. Atkin, ANU Research School of Biology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2017

Abstract

© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust We examined whether variations in photosynthetic capacity are linked to variations in the environment and/or associated leaf traits for tropical moist forests (TMFs) in the Andes/western Amazon regions of Peru. We compared photosynthetic capacity (maximal rate of carboxylation of Rubisco (Vcmax), and the maximum rate of electron transport (Jmax)), leaf mass, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) per unit leaf area (Ma, Na and Pa, respectively), and chlorophyll from 210 species at 18 field sites along a 3300-m elevation gradient. Western blots were used to quantify the abundance of the CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco. Area- and N-based rates of photosynthetic capacity at 25°C were higher in upland than lowland TMFs, underpinned by greater investment of N in photosynthesis in high-elevation trees. Soil [P] and leaf Pa were key explanatory factors for models of area-based Vcmax and Jmax but did not account for variations in photosynthetic N-use efficiency. At any given Na and Pa, the fraction of N allocated to photosynthesis was higher in upland than lowland species. For a small subset of lowland TMF trees examined, a substantial fraction of Rubisco was inactive. These results highlight the importance of soil- and leaf-P in defining the photosynthetic capacity of TMFs, with variations in N allocation and Rubisco activation state further influencing photosynthetic rates and N-use efficiency of these critically important forests.

Publication Title

New Phytologist

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