Interpreting chlorophyll fluorescence signals: the effects of leaf age
Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 08:45
2006 (Moscone West)
Remote sensing of sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) promises robust estimation of carbon uptake across landscapes, as studies of plant physiology have shown that fluorescence emission is directly linked to photosynthesis at the leaf level. Yet most leaf-level studies demonstrating the link between chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthesis have studied leaves in their prime: leaves that recently finished expansion and have yet to senesce. By contrast, remote sensing of landscapes involves observing leaves of different ages. For example, broadleaf deciduous forests and annual plant communities in temperate regions have leaves that develop and then senesce over the course of a growing season. In this experiment, we explored how leaf age and moisture availability affect steady-state fluoresence (Fs) at the leaf level. We simultaneously measured net photosynthesis (Anet) and Fs for leaves of known ages on greenhouse-grown dwarf Helianthus Annuus (sunflowers) from two watering treatments. To monitor plant water status, we measured pre-dawn water potential, and, for a subset of leaves, osmotic potential. Fully expanded or near-fully expanded leaves (~8 to ~23 days old) had higher Anet at saturating light than young, expanding leaves (less than 8 days old) or old leaves nearing senescence (>23 days old). We found a positive relationship between Fs and Anet, suggesting that the link between fluorescence emission and photosynthesis is robust across leaves of different ages. However, leaf age had marked effects on the light response curve of photosynthesis and fluorescence metrics. These results suggest that leaf age distribution, and changes in leaf age distribution due to phenology, should be considered when interpreting SIF at the landscape level.