EGU22-3531, updated on 27 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Nighttime temperature and optimal photosynthetic capacity over the past fortnight jointly control the acclimation of leaf respiration

Yanghang Ren1, Han Wang1, Sandy P. Harrison1,2, I. Colin Prentice1,3,4, Peter B. Reich5,6, Nicholas G. Smith7, and Artur Stefanski5
Yanghang Ren et al.
  • 1Department of Earth System Science, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Institute for Global Change Studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 2School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences (SAGES), University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AH, United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, United Kingdom
  • 4Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
  • 5Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
  • 6Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia
  • 7Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Leaf dark respiration (Rd) accounts for approximately 50% of plant respiration. The acclimation of plant respiration to temperature weakens the positive feedback to global warming. Most existing land surface models (LSMs) adopt an empirical leaf respiration scheme with a constant Rd25 (leaf dark respiration rate at 25°C) for each vegetation type, since there is no acceptable theory of Rd acclimation and how it varies temporally and spatially. Here we propose that Rd25 adjusts to prior nighttime temperature (Tnight) to maintain the ratio of Rd to photosynthesis capacity (Vcmax) approximately constant. To test this hypothesis and explore the time scale of acclimation, we predict Rd25 over different time windows and evaluate these predictions using data from 14 sites from two datasets (Boreal Forest Warming at an Ecotone in Danger (B4WarmED) experiment and Leaf Carbon Exchange dataset (LCE)), one of which provides measurements through time and the other across spatial gradients. Predictions that account for the combined effects of Vcmax and Tnight have better predictive power for all species (mean R2=0.4) than considering the effect of one factor alone. Predictions of acclimation on different timescales show that Vcmax and Tnight averaged over the past fortnight explain the most variation in observed Rd25. These results could provide an alternative solution to the leaf respiration schemes used in LSMs.

How to cite: Ren, Y., Wang, H., Harrison, S. P., Prentice, I. C., Reich, P. B., Smith, N. G., and Stefanski, A.: Nighttime temperature and optimal photosynthetic capacity over the past fortnight jointly control the acclimation of leaf respiration, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3531,, 2022.


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