Seasonal response of slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii Engelm.) photosynthesis to long-term exposure to ozone and acidic precipitation*


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    This is Florida Agricultural Experimental Station, Journal Series No R-02117.


Four half-sib families of slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii) were planted in open-top chambers and exposed to ozone and simulated acidic precipitation (3: 7 molar ratio of nitric and sulphuric acids). The 4 ozone treatments were (1) charcoal-filtered air, (2) unfiltered ambient air, (3) twice ambient and (4) three times ambient ozone, with treatments applied 12 h per day, 11 months per year for 28 months. Seedlings were irrigated weekly with one of three rain acidities: pH 33, 4.3 or 5.3 at a total rainfall equivalent of 133 cm per year. Photosynthetic rates were measured approximately every 10 weeks, on the most recently emerged branches each year. In 1988 the 3rd flush was measured, and in 1989 and 1990 the 1st flush of each year was measured.

Elevated ozone concentrations generally reduced photosynthetic rates, especially during the summer months, but there was no evidence of either a threshold dose or a simple linear relationship between photosynthesis and ozone exposure. There was a seasonal drop in photosynthetic rates from March to September each year. An ontogenetic decrease in photosynthesis was also evident as trees matured. Stomatal conductance also decreased as the needles aged. Seedlings irrigated with pH 3.3 solution typically exhibited the highest photosynthetic rates, presumably due to a fertilizer effect.