Effects of temperature on photosynthesis of two morphologically contrasting plant species along an altitudinal gradient in the tropical high andes

Cabrera H.M.; Rada, F; Cavieres, L

Keywords: temperature, growth, andes, gradient, photosynthesis, form, senecio, Acaena, altitudinal, Venezuela,, cylindrostachya, formosus


The effects of temperature on photosynthesis of a rosette plant growing at ground level, Acaena cylindrostachya R. et P., and an herb that grows 20-50 cm above ground level, Senecio formosus H.B.K., were studied along an altitudinal gradient in the Venezuelan Andes. These species were chosen in order to determine - in the field and in the laboratory - how differences in leaf temperature, determined by plant form and microenvironmental conditions, affect their photosynthetic capacity. CO2 assimilation rates (A) for both species decreased with increasing altitude. For Acaena leaves at 2900 m, A reached maximum values above 9 ?mol m-2 s-1, nearly twice as high as maximum A found at 3550 m (5.2) or at 4200 m (3.9). For Senecio leaves, maximum rates of CO2 uptake were 7.5, 5.8 and 3.6 ?mol m-2 s-1 for plants at 2900, 3550 and 4200 m, respectively. Net photosynthesis-leaf temperature relations showed differences in optimum temperature for photosynthesis (A(o.t.)) for both species along the altitudinal gradient. Acaena showed similar A(o.t.) for the two lower altitudes, with 19.1°C at 2900 m and 19.6°C at 3550 m, while it increased to 21.7°C at 4200 m. Maximum A for this species at each altitude was similar, between 5.5 and 6.0 ?mol m-2 s-1. For the taller Senecio, A(o.t.) was more closely related to air temperatures and decreased from 21.7°C at 2900 m, to 19.7°C at 3550 m and 15.5°C at 4200 m. In this species, maximum A was lower with increasing altitude (from 6.0 at 2900 m to 3.5 ?mol m-2 s-2 at 4200 m). High temperature compensation points for Acaena were similar at the three altitudes, c. 35°C, but varied in Senecio from 37°C at 2900 m, to 39°C at 3550 m and 28°C at 4200 m. Our results show how photosynthetic characteristics change along the altitudinal gradient for two morphologically contrasting species influenced by soil or air temperatures.

Más información

Título de la Revista: OECOLOGIA
Volumen: 114
Número: 2
Editorial: Springer
Fecha de publicación: 1998
Página de inicio: 145
Página final: 152
URL: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-0031900141&partnerID=q2rCbXpz