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Title: Towards a universal model for carbon dioxide uptake by plants

Abstract

Gross primary production (GPP) - the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO 2) by leaves, and its conversion to sugars by photosynthesis - is the basis for life on land. Earth System Models (ESMs) incorporating the interactions of land ecosystems and climate are used to predict the future of the terrestrial sink for anthropogenic CO 2. ESMs require accurate representation of GPP. However, current ESMs disagree on how GPP responds to environmental variations, suggesting a need for a more robust theoretical framework for modelling. Here in this work, we focus on a key quantity for GPP, the ratio of leaf internal to external CO 2 (χ). χ is tightly regulated and depends on environmental conditions, but is represented empirically and incompletely in today's models. We show that a simple evolutionary optimality hypothesis predicts specific quantitative dependencies of χ on temperature, vapour pressure deficit and elevation; and that these same dependencies emerge from an independent analysis of empirical χ values, derived from a worldwide dataset of >3,500 leaf stable carbon isotope measurements. A single global equation embodying these relationships then unifies the empirical light-use efficiency model with the standard model of C 3 photosynthesis, and successfully predicts GPP measured at eddy-covariance fluxmore » sites. This success is notable given the equation's simplicity and broad applicability across biomes and plant functional types. Finally, it provides a theoretical underpinning for the analysis of plant functional coordination across species and emergent properties of ecosystems, and a potential basis for the reformulation of the controls of GPP in next-generation ESMs.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5];  [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [8]
  1. Northwest A & F University, Yangling (China). State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, College of Forestry; Macquarie University, North Ryde (Australia). Department of Biological Sciences; International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg (Australia). Ecosystems Services and Management Program
  2. Northwest A & F University, Yangling (China). State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, College of Forestry; Macquarie University, North Ryde (Australia). Department of Biological Sciences; Imperial College, London (United Kingdom). AXA Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts, Department of Life Sciences
  3. Macquarie University, North Ryde (Australia). Department of Biological Sciences; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division
  4. Imperial College, London (United Kingdom). AXA Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts, Department of Life Sciences; United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, Ithaca, NY (United States)
  5. Macquarie University, North Ryde (Australia). Department of Biological Sciences
  6. The University of New South Wales, Randwick (Australia). Ecology and Evolution Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  7. Macquarie University, North Ryde (Australia). Department of Biological Sciences; Univ. of Sydney, NSW (Australia). Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Department of Environmental Sciences
  8. Northwest A & F University, Yangling (China). State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, College of Forestry; Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Quebec at Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Department of Biological Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1437966
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Plants
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 9; Related Information: © 2017 The Author(s).; Journal ID: ISSN 2055-0278
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Wang, Han, Prentice, I. Colin, Keenan, Trevor F., Davis, Tyler W., Wright, Ian J., Cornwell, William K., Evans, Bradley J., and Peng, Changhui. Towards a universal model for carbon dioxide uptake by plants. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/s41477-017-0006-8.
Wang, Han, Prentice, I. Colin, Keenan, Trevor F., Davis, Tyler W., Wright, Ian J., Cornwell, William K., Evans, Bradley J., & Peng, Changhui. Towards a universal model for carbon dioxide uptake by plants. United States. doi:10.1038/s41477-017-0006-8.
Wang, Han, Prentice, I. Colin, Keenan, Trevor F., Davis, Tyler W., Wright, Ian J., Cornwell, William K., Evans, Bradley J., and Peng, Changhui. Mon . "Towards a universal model for carbon dioxide uptake by plants". United States. doi:10.1038/s41477-017-0006-8. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1437966.
@article{osti_1437966,
title = {Towards a universal model for carbon dioxide uptake by plants},
author = {Wang, Han and Prentice, I. Colin and Keenan, Trevor F. and Davis, Tyler W. and Wright, Ian J. and Cornwell, William K. and Evans, Bradley J. and Peng, Changhui},
abstractNote = {Gross primary production (GPP) - the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) by leaves, and its conversion to sugars by photosynthesis - is the basis for life on land. Earth System Models (ESMs) incorporating the interactions of land ecosystems and climate are used to predict the future of the terrestrial sink for anthropogenic CO2. ESMs require accurate representation of GPP. However, current ESMs disagree on how GPP responds to environmental variations, suggesting a need for a more robust theoretical framework for modelling. Here in this work, we focus on a key quantity for GPP, the ratio of leaf internal to external CO2 (χ). χ is tightly regulated and depends on environmental conditions, but is represented empirically and incompletely in today's models. We show that a simple evolutionary optimality hypothesis predicts specific quantitative dependencies of χ on temperature, vapour pressure deficit and elevation; and that these same dependencies emerge from an independent analysis of empirical χ values, derived from a worldwide dataset of >3,500 leaf stable carbon isotope measurements. A single global equation embodying these relationships then unifies the empirical light-use efficiency model with the standard model of C3 photosynthesis, and successfully predicts GPP measured at eddy-covariance flux sites. This success is notable given the equation's simplicity and broad applicability across biomes and plant functional types. Finally, it provides a theoretical underpinning for the analysis of plant functional coordination across species and emergent properties of ecosystems, and a potential basis for the reformulation of the controls of GPP in next-generation ESMs.},
doi = {10.1038/s41477-017-0006-8},
journal = {Nature Plants},
number = 9,
volume = 3,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {9}
}

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