The relationship of leaf photosynthetic traits – Vcmax and Jmax – to leaf nitrogen, leaf phosphorus, and specific leaf area: a meta-analysis and modeling study
Anthony P. Walker, Andrew P. Beckerman, Lianhong Gu, Jens Kattge, Lucas A. Cernusak, Tomas F. Domingues, Joanna C. Scales, Georg Wohlfahrt, Stan D. Wullschleger and F. Ian Woodward
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2014 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1173
Great uncertainty exists in the global exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere. To reduce this uncertainty we analysed data collected in the literature from across the globe on the maximum rate of carboxylation (Vcmax) and the maximum rate of electron transport (Jmax) in relation to plant nutrient status indicated by the traits: leaf nitrogen (N), leaf phosphorus (P), and specific leaf area (SLA). Vcmax was strongly related to leaf N and increasing leaf P substantially increased the sensitivity of Vcmax to leaf N and in a model of photosynthesis we showed that at high leaf N (3 gm−2) increasing leaf P from 0.05 to 0.22 gm−2 nearly doubled assimilation rates. Finally we show that plants may employ a conservative strategy of Jmax to Vcmax co-ordination that restricts photoinhibition when carboxylation is limiting at the expense of maximising photosynthetic rates when light is limiting.