Acorn mass and seedling growth in Quercus rubra in response to elevated CO2


  • Shili Miao

    1. Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA;
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      Current address: Ecosystem Restoration Department, The South Florida Water Management District, 3301 Gun Club Road, P.O. Box 24680, West Palm Beach, FL 33416–4680, USA; Fax +1 407 6876442; E-mail SHILI.MIAO@SFWMD.GOV


Abstract. In order to explore whether seed size affects plant response to elevated CO2, plants grown from red oak (Quercus rubra L.) acorns were studied for differences in their first year response to CO2 concentrations of 350 and 700 μl/l. Overall, at final harvest, total biomass of plants grown in elevated CO2 were 47 % larger than that of plants grown in ambient CO2. There were significant interactions between CO2 treatments and initial acorn mass for total biomass, as well as for root, leaf, and stem biomass. Although total biomass increased with increasing initial acorn mass for both high and ambient CO2 plants, high CO2 plants exhibited a greater increase than ambient CO2 plants, as indicated by a steeper slope in high CO2 plants. However, CO2 levels did not affect biomass partitioning traits, such as root/shoot ratio, leaf, stem, and root weight ratios, and leaf area ratio. These results suggest that variation in seed size or initial plant size can cause intraspecific variation in response to elevated CO2.