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The mechanisms controlling the photosynthetic performance of C4 plants at low temperature were investigated using ecotypes of Bouteloua gracilis Lag. from high (3000 m) and low (1500 m) elevation sites in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Plants were grown in controlled-environment cabinets at a photon flux density of 700 μmol m−2 s−1 and day/night temperatures of 26/16 °C or 14/7 °C. The thermal response of the net CO2 assimilation rate (A) was evaluated using leaf gas-exchange analysis and activity assays of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCase) and pyruvate,orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK). In both ecotypes, a reduction in measurement temperature...
Arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the southwestern US are undergoing changes in vegetation composition and are predicted to experience shifts in climate. To understand implications of these current and predicted changes, we conducted a precipitation manipulation experiment on the Santa Rita Experimental Range in southeastern Arizona. The objectives of our study were to determine how soil surface and seasonal timing of rainfall events mediate the dynamics of leaf-level photosynthesis and plant water status of a native and non-native grass species in response to precipitation pulse events. We followed a simulated precipitation event (pulse) that occurred prior to the onset of the North American monsoon (in June) and...
Gas exchange and water relations responses to warming were compared for two shrub species, Artemisia tridentata spp. vaseyana (Asteraceae), a widely distributed evergreen species of the Great Basin and the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, and Pentaphylloides floribunda (Rosaceae), a deciduous shrub limited in distribution to moist, high-elevation meadows. Plants were exposed to an in situ infrared (IR) climate change manipulation at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, near Crested Butte, CO. Measurements of gas exchange and water relations were made on the two species in July and August, 1993 from plants growing in situ in infrared-heated and control plots. Carbon dioxide uptake, water loss, leaf temperature,...