Seasonal changes in the pigments, carbohydrates and growth of red spruce as affected by exposure to ozone for two growing seasons

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Three-year-old red spruce seedlings were exposed to various concentrations of ozone, from 0.4 to 3 times ambient, for two consecutive growing seasons in open-top chambers in Ithaca, NY, USA. Exposures, which varied with changes in daylength, were from 30 May to 14 December 1987 and 1 June to 1 December 1988. Seedling biomass, foliar pigments and carbohydrate content of roots and shoots were assessed once or twice per month. Tree biomass increased through the summer and declined slightly in late autumn, regardless of ozone treatment. Biomass and contents of sugar and starch of 1988 fixed growth declined linearly with exposure to increasing levels of ozone. Rates of decline in total shoot biomass and old shoot biomass increased linearly with exposure to increasing concentrations of ozone, but tree height was not affected. Seasonal means of starch content of roots decreased linearly with increasing doses of ozone, but in contrast seasonal mean sugar content and rate of sugar accumulation of roots increased linearly. Chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b contents were not affected by ozone.

These data are consistent with the concept that ozone stress is cumulative, since effects on biomass and carbohydrate content of roots and shoots were not detected after the first year of exposure, but were detected after the second year of treatments. Furthermore, biomass was reduced by ozone only in tissues that were initiated during the first year of exposures and developed during the second year of exposures (1988 fixed growth).

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