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Photosynthetic and biochemical responses of four subtropical tree seedlings to reduced dry season and increased wet season precipitation and variable N deposition

Interspecific variations in phenotypic plasticity of trees affected by climate change may alter ecosystem function of forests. Seedlings of four common tree species (Castanopsis fissaMichelia macclurei, Dalbergia odorifera and Ormosia pinnata) in subtropical plantations of southern China were grown in the field under rainout shelters and subjected to changing precipitation, low N deposition, high N deposition and their interactive effects. We found that the changes in seasonal precipitation reduced the light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Asat) for C. fissa due to declining area-based foliar N concentrations (Na). However, we also found that the interactive effects of changing precipitation and N deposition enhanced Asat for C. fissa by increasing foliar Na concentrations, suggesting that N deposition could alleviate N limitations associated with changing precipitation. Altered precipitation and high N deposition reduced Asat for D. odorifera by decreasing the maximum electron transport rate for RuBP regeneration (Jmax) and maximum rate of carboxylation of Rubisco (Vcmax). O. pinnata under high N deposition exhibited increasing Asat due to higher stomatal conductance and Vcmax. The growth of D. odorifera might be inhibited by changes in seasonal precipitation and N deposition, while O. pinnata may benefit from increasing N deposition in future climates. Our study provides an important insight into the selection of tree species with high capacity to tolerate changing precipitation and N deposition in subtropical plantations.

This paper was published in journal of Tree Physiology. Postdoctor Ting Wu was the first author, and Prof. Juxiu was the corresponding author. This study was jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Key Research and Development Program of Guangdong Province and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation. The link is






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