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Citation. Wright, I.J.; Reich, P.B.; Atkin, O.K.; Lusk, C.H.; Tjoelker, M.G.; Westoby, M. 2006. Irradiance, temperature and rainfall influence leaf dark respiration in woody plants: evidence from comparisons across 20 sites. NEW PHYTOLOGIST 169:309-319.
Leaf dark respiration (R) is one of the most fundamental physiological processes in
plants and is a major component of terrestrial CO2 input to the atmosphere. Still, it
is unclear how predictably species vary in R along broad climate gradients.
Data for R and other key leaf traits were compiled for 208 woody species from 20
sites around the world. We quantified relationships between R and site climate,
and climate-related variation in relationships between R and other leaf traits.
Species at higher-irradiance sites had higher mean R at a given leaf N
concentration, specific leaf area (SLA), photosynthetic capacity (Amass) or leaf
lifespan than species at lower-irradiance sites. Species at lower-rainfall sites had
higher mean R at a given SLA or Amass than species at higher-rainfall sites. On
average, estimated field rates of R were higher at warmer sites, while no trend
with site temperature was seen when R was adjusted to a standard measurement
• Our findings should prove useful for modelling plant nutrient and carbon budgets,
and for modelling vegetation shifts with climate change.