Effects of a natural source of very high CO2 concentration on the leaf gas exchange, xylem water potential and stomatal characteristics of plants of Spatiphylum cannifolium and Bauhinia multinervia

Authors

  • MARÍA DOLORES FERNÁNDEZ,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ALEJANDRO PIETERS,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • CAROLINA DONOSO,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • WILMER TEZARA,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • MERCEDES AZKUE,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • CECILIA HERRERA,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ELIZABETH RENGIFO,

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ANA HERRERA

    1. Centro de Botánica Tropical, Instituto de Biología Experimental, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47577, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela
    2. To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: aherra@strix.ciens.ucv.ve
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The effect of a very high CO2 mole fraction (27000–35000 μmol mol−1) on photosynthesis and water relations was studied during the dry and the rainy season in plants of Spatiphylum cannifolium (Dryand.) Schott and Bauhinia multinervia (H.B.K.) DC. growing near natural cold CO2 springs. Xylem water potential in plants of both species was lowered by drought, high CO2 growth-concentration decreasing it further in S. cannifolium. In plants of both species growing under high CO2 concentration photosynthetic rates measured at a CO2 mole fraction of 1000 μmol mol−1 were higher than in plants growing at ambient CO2 mole fraction and measured at 350 μmol mol−1. The response was the result of a direct effect of CO2 on the photosynthetic machinery. Changes in carboxylation efficiency in response to high CO2 were found during the rainy season, with an increase in S. cannifolium and a decrease in B. multinervia; a significant interaction between growth CO2 concentration and season in B. multinervia resulted from significant effects of both factors. An increase in intrinsic water-use efficiency due to high CO2 was determined in both species by an increase in photosynthetic rate as well as a decrease in leaf conductance. In high-CO2 plants of S. cannifolium a 71% decrease in stomatal density and 73% in stomatal index suggested that CO2 affected stomatal initiation, whereas in B. multinervia an 85% decrease in stomatal index and a 72% decrease in stomatal density indicated that CO2 influenced stomatal initiation as well as epidermal cell expansion. Our results indicate that very high CO2 concentrations did not inhibit photosynthesis in these species, and that growth under high CO2 allowed plants to attain carbon balances higher than those of plants growing under low CO2. This was particularly so during the dry season, since the photosynthetic rates at the corresponding ambient concentration were higher in plants nearer the springs, and carboxylation efficiency and some stomatal characteristics of both species apparently acclimated to high CO2, but patterns were not consistent and bore no obvious relationship to photosynthetic capacity.

Ancillary