Springtime heatwaves are common phenomena in the Mediterranean region, named ‘Sharav’ or ‘Hamsin’. During these heatwaves, air temperatures (Ta) and vapor pressure demand (VPD) increase rapidly over 3-5 days, followed by a dramatic drop of at least 5℃ in Ta and 1 kPa in VPD back to the pre-event values.
Here, we used our mobile lab in an irrigated lemon orchard in Rehovot, Israel to carry out eddy covariance (EC) flux measurements of net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE), water vapor, and carbonyl sulfide (COS), as well as canopy Sun-induced fluorescence (SIF) together with other spectral indices (NDVI, PRI, NIRv). This was supplemented with leaf-scale measurements of Pulse Amplitude modulated (PAM). Five heatwave events were detected during a two-months measurement campaign. Two other events were defined as intermediate days, with VPD values higher than normal but lower than in the full-scale heatwaves.
During both the heatwave and intermediate days, the COS fluxes (Fcos), far-red SIF, and electron transport rate (ETR), decreased during midday to the same level, compared to the control days. In contrast, NEE responded differentially between the heatwave and intermediate days, with midday values of -5.9±0.9, -3.7±0.7 and -0.69±0.62 µmol m-2s-1 CO2, in the control, intermediate and heatwave days, respectively. No differences were detected in both NDVI and NIRv values. The PRI index, related to energy transfer through the non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) pathway, showed a similar pattern to that of NEE. The recovery of the ecosystem from the heatwave events was rapid and occurred within a day after the end of the events.
The results indicate a link between the far-red SIF and the ETR in the response to the heatwaves. Moreover, the reduction in far-red SIF was negatively associated with the increase in NPQ, which was reflected in both the spectral (PRI) and the PAM (NPQ value) measurements. The observed decrease in Fcos is expected to reflect a decrease in stomatal conductance to a similar extent in the heatwave and intermediate days. However, the lower rate of CO2 assimilation in the full-scale heat wave days suggests that additional factors further decreased its rates beyond that limited by conductance. This can be related to the increased effect of the heat stress on other energy-demanding pathways (e.g. photorespiratory, isoprene production) that can suppress net assimilation in these days.
This work demonstrated that the relation between carbon assimilation and far-red SIF can be complex, and that combining SIF and COS measurements can help partition the effects of heat stress on conductance and other physiological effects.