Seasonal and temperature dependence of photosynthesis and respiration for two co-occurring broad-leaved tree species with contrasting leaf phenology

Roger J. Dungan, David Whitehead, Richard P. Duncan

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We measured the seasonal and temperature responses of leaf photosynthesis and respiration of two co-occurring native New Zealand tree species with contrasting leaf phenology: winter-deciduous fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata J. R. Forst & G. Forst) and annual evergreen wineberry (Aristotelia serrata J. R. Forst & G. Forst). There was no difference in the amount of nitrogen per unit leaf area (Narea, range 40-160 mmol m-2, P = 0.18) or specific leaf area (S, range 8-27 m2 kg-1, P = 0.87) in summer leaves of wineberry or fuchsia. The amount of nitrogen per unit leaf area and S varied significantly with height of leaves in the canopy for both species (r2 range 0.61-0.87). Parameters describing the maximum rates of rubisco carboxylation (Vcmax) and electron transport (Jmax) were related significantly to Narea, and were 60% higher on average in spring and summer leaves than in autumn and winter leaves for both species. The seasonal effect remained significant (P < 0.001) when Narea was included in a regression model, indicating that seasonal changes were not only due to changes in Narea. Values for Vcmax and Jmax were 30% lower in wineberry leaves than in fuchsia leaves on average, although the difference ranged from 15% in summer leaves to 39% in autumn leaves. Activation energies describing the temperature dependence of Vcmax and Jmax in wineberry were 111 and 114% of corresponding values for fuchsia (Ea (Vcmax) = 39.1 kJ mol-1, Ea (Jmax) = 32.9 kJ mol-1). Respiration at night was the same (P = 0.34) at 10°C for both species (R10 = 0.7 μmol m-2 s-1), although activation energies (E0) were higher in wineberry than in fuchsia (47.4 and 32.9 kJ mol-1 K-1, respectively). These results show that rates of photosynthesis are higher in winter-deciduous fuchsia than in annual evergreen wineberry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-568
Number of pages8
JournalTree Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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