Trade-off between light interception efficiency and light use efficiency: implications for species coexistence in one-sided light competition
Article first published online: 22 NOV 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society
Journal of Ecology
Volume 102, Issue 1, pages 167–175, January 2014
How to Cite
Onoda, Y., Saluñga, J. B., Akutsu, K., Aiba, S.-i., Yahara, T., Anten, N. P. R. (2014), Trade-off between light interception efficiency and light use efficiency: implications for species coexistence in one-sided light competition. Journal of Ecology, 102: 167–175. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12184
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 22 NOV 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 31 OCT 2013 09:52AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 JUL 2013
- Global COE Program ‘Asian conservation ecology’
- MEXT of Japan
- JSPS KAKENHI. Grant Numbers: #23770026, # 23255003
- Environment Research and Technology Development Fund
- asymmetric competition;
- determinants of plant community diversity and structure;
- light interception;
- light use;
- one-sided light competition;
- RGR ;
- Taller plant species can pre-empt solar energy and suppress growth of subordinate species in vegetation stands, which is described through one-sided competition. Yet, in much of the world's vegetation species of different statures coexist. This study aims to clarify the mechanisms underlying this apparent paradox.
- We quantified how co-occurring species and individuals intercepted and used light for growth in a mature, warm-temperate evergreen forest. This was performed by determining the 3D distribution of foliage and light with a ground-based lidar system in combination with nondestructive measurements of plant growth.
- Taller trees intercepted light more efficiently per unit of above-ground biomass than shorter trees did (=higher light interception efficiency, LIE). However, taller trees tended to have lower biomass production per unit light interception (=lower light use efficiency, LUE). Reduced LUE in taller trees was associated with their higher biomass allocation to nonphotosynthetic organs and probably with over-saturated light intensity for photosynthesis at high canopy positions. Due to the increased LIE and decreased LUE with tree heights, a trade-off between LIE and LUE was found, and this trade-off resulted in trees of different statures having similar relative growth rates.
- Synthesis. Light competition drives trees to grow taller, and the light interception efficiency is higher in taller trees; however, this benefit comes at a cost of decreased efficiency of light use for growth. This trade-off allows trees of different statures to grow at proportionally comparable rates and may promote coexistence of tree species in one-sided light competition.