Dynamic Response of Plant Chlorophyll Fluorescence to Light, Water and Nutrient Availability
Abstract:Photosynthesis is the most important exchange process of CO2 between the atmosphere and the land-surface. Spatial and temporal patterns of photosynthesis depend on dynamic plant-specific adaptation strategies to highly variable environmental conditions e.g. light, water, and nutrient availability. Chlorophyll fluorescence (ChF) has been proposed as a direct indicator of photosynthesis, and several studies have demonstrated its relationship with vegetation functioning at leaf and canopy level.
In this study, two overarching questions about ChF were addressed: Q1) How water, nutrient and ambient light conditions determine the relationships between photosynthesis and ChF? Which is the optimum irradiance level for detecting water and nutrient deficit conditions with ChF?; Q2) What is the seasonal relationship between photosynthesis and ChF when nitrogen is the limiting factor?
The results of this study indicated that when the differences between treatments (water or nitrogen) drive the relationship between photosynthesis and ChF, ChF has a direct relationship with photosynthesis. This study demonstrates that the light level at which plants were grown was optimum for detecting water and nutrient deficit with ChF. Further, the seasonal relation between photosynthesis and ChF with nitrogen stress was not a simple linear function due to the complex physiological relation between photosynthesis and ChF. Our study showed that at times in the season when nitrogen was sufficient and photosynthesis was highest, ChF decreased because these two processes compete for available energy. The results from this study demonstrated that ChF is a reliable indicator of plant stress and has great potential as a tool for better understand where, when, and how CO2 is exchanged between the land and atmosphere.