Previous studies of the effects of growth at elevated CO2 on energy partitioning in the photosynthetic apparatus have produced conflicting results. The hypothesis was developed and tested that elevated CO2 increases photochemical energy use when there is a high demand for assimilates and decreases usage when demand is low. Modulated chlorophyll a fluorescence and leaf gas exchange were measured on needles at the top of a mature, 12-m loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) forest. Trees were exposed to ambient CO2 or ambient plus 20 Pa CO2 using free-air CO2 enrichment. During April and August, periods of shoot growth, light-saturated photosynthesis and linear electron transport were increased by elevated CO2. In November, when growth had ceased but temperatures were still moderate, CO2 treatment had no significant effect on linear electron transport. In February, when low temperatures were likely to inhibit translocation, CO2 treatment caused a significant decrease in linear electron transport. This coincided with a slower recovery of the maximum photosystem II efficiency on transfer of needles to the shade, indicating that growth in elevated CO2 induced a more persistent photoinhibition. Both the summer increase and the winter decrease in linear electron transport in elevated CO2 resulted from a change in photochemical quenching, not in the efficiency of energy transfer within the photosystem II antenna. There was no evidence of any effect of CO2 on photochemical energy sinks other than carbon metabolism. Our results suggest that elevated CO2 may increase the effects of winter stress on evergreen foliage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science