Navigation Links
Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate, study shows
Date:7/20/2014

The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study by University of Arizona researchers.

UA professor Brian Enquist and postdoctoral researcher Sean Michaletz, along with collaborators Dongliang Cheng from Fujian Normal University in China and Drew Kerkhoff from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, have combined a new mathematical theory with data from more than 1,000 forests across the world to show that climate has a relatively minor direct effect on net primary productivity, or the amount of biomass that plants produce by harvesting sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

The findings will be available as an advance online publication by the journal Nature on July 20.

"A fundamental assumption of our models for understanding how climate influences the functioning of ecosystems is that temperature and precipitation directly influence how fast plants can take up and use carbon dioxide," said Enquist, a professor in the UA's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology whose research lab led the study.

"Essentially, warm and wet environments are thought to allow plant metabolism to run fast, while cold and drier environments slow down metabolism and hence lower biomass production in ecosystems," he said. "This assumption makes sense, as we know from countless experiments that temperature and water control how fast plants can grow. However, when applied to a the scale of entire ecosystems, this assumption appears to not be correct."

To test the assumption on the scale of ecosystems, the team developed a new mathematical theory that assesses the relative importance of several hypothesized drivers of net primary productivity. That theory was then evaluated using a massive new dataset assembled from more than 1,000 different forest locations across the world.

The analysis revealed a new and general mathematical relationship that governs worldwide variation in terrestrial ecosystem net primary productivity. The team found that plant size and plant age control most of the variation in plant productivity, not temperature and precipitation as traditionally thought.

"This general relationship shows that climate doesn't influence productivity by changing the metabolic reaction rates underlying plant growth, but instead by determining how large plants can get and how long they can live for," said Sean Michaletz, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at the UA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "This means that plants in warm, wet environments can grow more because their larger size and longer growing season enable them to capture more resources, not because climate increases the speed of their metabolism."

The finding does not, however, mean that climate is unimportant for plant productivity, the researchers said.

"Climate is still an important factor," said Michaletz, "but our understanding of how it influences ecosystem functioning has now changed."

The team's new findings suggest that mathematical models used for predicting the effects of global climate change can be improved by accounting for the effects of plant size and plant age on net primary productivity.

"Understanding exactly how climate controls net primary production is important for understanding the plant-atmosphere feedbacks that control climate change," said Michaletz.

Enquist said: "In other words, to better predict how ecosystems will change with climate, we need to understand what influences the amount of plant biomass in a given area as well as its age."


'/>"/>
Contact: Shelley Littin
littin@email.arizona.edu
319-541-1482
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. First comprehensive library of master genetic switches in plants
2. Discovery provides insights on how plants respond to elevated CO2 levels
3. Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insects chewing, MU study finds
4. Bioengineer receives $2.9 million grant to improve brain implants
5. Fecal transplants restore healthy bacteria and gut functions
6. Habitat fragmentation increases vulnerability to disease in wild plants
7. Tiny plants ride on the coattails of migratory birds
8. What can plants reveal about gene flow? That its an important evolutionary force
9. With climate changing, southern plants outperform northern
10. Plants oil-desaturating enzymes pair up to channel metabolites
11. Light-sensitive eyes in plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate, study shows
(Date:1/24/2017)... 2017  It sounds simple and harmless—an electronic ... vital signs and alerts parents on their smart ... level drops. But pediatric experts argue that such ... no evidence of medical benefits, especially to healthy ... to parents of healthy babies, promising peace of ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... PORTLAND, Oregon and PUNE, India , January 19, ... Market Research, titled, "Global Biometric Sensor Market, Opportunities and Forecast, 2014 - ... 2022, growing at a CAGR of 9.6% from 2016 to 2022. In 2015, ... share owing to high-level security for both public and private sectors. ... ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Jan. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... eClinical technology company that supports the entire spectrum ... 2016 has been another record-breaking year for the ... and market interest in MedNet,s eClinical products and ... to the tremendous marketplace success of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 24, 2017 ... that is developing a new category of therapeutics, announced ... trial of SB-030 in peripheral artery disease. The trial ... locally administered single-use therapeutic, in the reduction of restenosis ... reached this critical development milestone for SB-030," said ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: CO ) ... blood collection, laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem cell processing and ... results for the third quarter and first nine months ... Third Quarter of Fiscal 2017 Highlights ... increased by 18.6% to RMB200.9 million ($28.9 million). ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- China Biologic Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) ("China Biologic" or ... China, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter ... 2016 Financial Highlights Total sales in ... terms, or increased by 13.6% in USD terms to $77.6 ... Gross profit increased by 13.3% to $46.8 ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  OncoSec Medical Incorporated ("OncoSec") ... will host a Key Opinion Leader event to highlight ... oral and poster presentation at the upcoming 2017 ASCO-SITC ... KOL event will be held in-person and via live ... / 9:00 AM PST at the Lotte New York ...
Breaking Biology Technology: