Skip to Main Content
Relationships of leaf dark respiration to leaf nitrogen, specific leaf area and leaf life-span: a test across biomes and functional groupsAuthor(s): Peter B. Reich; Michael B. Walters; David S. Ellsworth; [and others]; [Editor’s note: James M.. Vose is the SRS co-author for this publication.]
Source: Oecologia. 114: 471-482.(Editor’s note: James M. Vose is the SRS co-author for this publication.)
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (448 KB)
DescriptionBased on prior evidence of coordinated multiple leaf trait scaling, the authors hypothesized that variation among species in leaf dark respiration rate (Rd) should scale with variation in traits such as leaf nitrogen (N), leaf life-span, specific leaf area (SLA), and net photosynthetic capacity (Amax). However, it is not known whether such scaling, if it exists, is similar among disparate biomes and plant functional types. The authors tested this idea by examining the interspecific relationships between Rd measured at a standard temperature and leaf life-span, N, SLA and Amax for 69 species from four functional groups (forbs, broad-leafed trees and shrubs, and needle-leafed conifers) in six biomes traversing the Americas: alpine tundra/subalpine forest, Colorado; cold temperate forest/ grassland, Wisconsin; cool temperate forest, North Carolina; desert/shrubland, New Mexico; subtropical forest, South Carolina; and tropical rain forest, Amazonas, Venezuela. Area-based Rd was positively related to area-based leaf N within functional groups and for all species pooled, but not when comparing among species within any site. At all sites, mass-based Rd (Rd-mass) decreased sharply with increasing leaf life-span and was positively related to SLA and mass-based Amax) and leaf N (leaf Nmass). These intra-biome relationships were similar in shape and slope among sites, where in each case we compared species belonging to different plant functional groups. Significant Rd-massÓNmass Rd-mass-Nmass relationships were observed in all functional groups (pooled across sites), but the relationships differed, with higher Rd at any given leaf N in functional groups (such as forbs) with higher SLA and shorter leaf life-span. Regardless of biome or functional group, Rd-mass was well predicted by all combinations of leaf life-span, Nmass and/or SLA (r2 > 0.79, P < 0.0001). At any given SLA, Rd-mass rises with increasing Nmass and/or decreasing leaf lifespan; and at any level of Nmass, Rd-mass rises with increasing SLA and/or decreasing leaf life-span. The relationships between Rd and leaf traits observed in this study support the idea of a global set of predictable interrelationships between key leaf morphological, chemical, and metabolic traits.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationReich, Peter B.; Walters, Michael B.; Ellsworth, David S.; [and others]; [Editor’s note: James M.. Vose is the SRS co-author for this publication.] 1998. Relationships of leaf dark respiration to leaf nitrogen, specific leaf area and leaf life-span: a test across biomes and functional groups. Oecologia. 114: 471-482.(Editor’s note: James M. Vose is the SRS co-author for this publication.)
- Leaf traits and associated ecosystem characteristics across subtropical and timberline forests in the Gongga Mountains, Eastern Tibetan Plateau
- A multi-trait test of the leaf-height-seed plant strategy scheme with 133 species from a pine forest flora
- Interspecific and environmentally induced variation in foliar dark respiration among eighteen southeastern deciduous tree species
XML: View XML