• Psuedotsuga menziesii;
  • acclimation;
  • global climate change;
  • seasonal patterns


The interactive effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 and temperature on seasonal patterns of photosynthesis in Douglas fir (Psuedotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings were examined. Seedlings were grown in sunlit chambers controlled to track either ambient (~400 p.p.m.) CO2 or ambient +200 p.p.m. CO2, and either ambient temperature or ambient +4 °C. Light-saturated net photosynthetic rates were measured approximately monthly over a 21 month period. Elevated CO2 increased net photosynthetic rates by an average of 21% across temperature treatments during both the 1996 hydrologic year, the third year of exposure, and the 1997 hydrologic year. Elevated mean annual temperature increased net photosynthetic rates by an average of 33% across CO2 treatments during both years. Seasonal temperature changes also affected net photosynthetic rates. Across treatments, net photosynthetic rates were highest in the spring and autumn, and lowest in July, August and December–January. Seasonal increases in temperature were not correlated with increases in the relative photosynthetic response to elevated CO2. Seasonal shifts in the photosynthetic temperature optimum reduced temperature effects on the relative response to elevated CO2. These results suggest that the effects of elevated CO2 on net photosynthetic rates in Douglas fir are largely independent of temperature.