Influence of diurnal variation in mesophyll conductance on modelled 13C discrimination: results from a field study

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Mesophyll conductance to CO2 (gm) limits carbon assimilation and influences carbon isotope discrimination (Δ) under most environmental conditions. Current work is elucidating the environmental regulation ofgm, but the influence of gm on model predictions of Δ remains poorly understood. In this study, field measurements of Δ and gm were obtained using a tunable diode laser spectroscope coupled to portable photosynthesis systems. These data were used to test the importance ofgm in predicting Δ using the comprehensive Farquhar model of Δ (Δcomp), where gm was parameterized using three methods based on: (i) mean gm; (ii) the relationship between stomatal conductance (gs) and gm; and (iii) the relationship between time of day (TOD) and gm. Incorporating meangm, gs-based gm, and TOD-based gm did not consistently improve Δcomppredictions of field-grown juniper compared with the simple model of Δ (Δsimple) that omits fractionation factors associated with gm and decarboxylation. Sensitivity tests suggest that b, the fractionation due to carboxylation, was lower (25‰) than the value commonly used in Δcomp(29‰) and Δsimple (27‰). These results demonstrate the limits of all tested models in predicting observed juniper Δ, largely due to unexplained offsets between predicted and observed values that were not reconciled in sensitivity tests of variability in gm, b, or e, the day respiratory fractionation.


Journal of Experimental Botany



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