Responses of fen and fen-meadow communities to ozone

Authors

  • S. A. Power,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK;
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  • M. R. Ashmore

    1. Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK;
    2. Current address: Department of Environmental Science, University of Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1DP, UK
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Author for correspondence: S. A. Power Tel: +44 20 75942318 Fax: +44 20 75942339 Email: s.power@ic.ac.uk

Summary

  • •   Species of fen and fen-meadow communities, well supplied with water and nutrients, are characterised by high rates of growth, stomatal conductance values and specific leaf areas, all factors which have been associated with high sensitivity to ozone. We therefore examined the effects of ozone on 12 characteristic fen and fen-meadow species.
  • •   Plants received either filtered air or ozone; AOT40 exposures ranged from 9200 to 14 300 ppb h. Eight of the 12 species exhibited foliar injury in response to ozone exposure, with the first signs of injury on Vicia cracca, following an AOT40 exposure of only 1950 pbb h.
  • •   Ozone exposure significantly reduced plant photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and biomass production in four species. Cirsium arvense exhibited the greatest biomass response to ozone (32% and 58% reduction in above- and below-ground weight, respectively). Species with higher levels of visible injury tended to show greater reductions in biomass. There was a significant positive association between stomatal conductance and the magnitude of ozone effects on root biomass.
  • •   The widespread occurrence of either visible injury or growth reductions amongst the species screened, and the magnitude of effects on the most sensitive species, indicate that species of fens and fen-meadows may be more sensitive to ozone than other seminatural ecosystems which have been the focus of recent ozone studies.

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