University Of Tasmania
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Altitude of origin influences stomatal conductance and therefore maximum assimilation rate in Southern Beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 12:37 authored by Mark HovendenMark Hovenden, Timothy BrodribbTimothy Brodribb
Gas exchange measurements were made on saplings of Southern Beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii (Hook.) Oerst. collected from three altitudes (350, 780 and 1100 m above sea level) and grown in a common glasshouse trial. Plants were grown from cuttings taken 2 years earlier from a number of plants at each altitude in Mt Field National Park, Tasmania. Stomatal density increased with increasing altitude of origin, and stomatal conductance and carbon assimilation rate were linearly related across all samples. The altitude of origin influenced the stomatal conductance and therefore carbon assimilation rate, with plants from 780 m having a greater photosynthetic rate than those from 350 m. The intercellular concentration of CO2 as a ratio of external CO2 concentration (C(i)/C(a)) was similar in all plants despite the large variation in maximum stomatal conductance. Carboxylation efficiency was greater in plants from 780 m than in plants from 350 m. Altitude of origin has a strong influence on the photosynthetic performance of N. cunninghamii plants even when grown under controlled conditions, and this influence is expressed in both leaf biochemistry (carboxylation efficiency) and leaf morphology (stomatal density).


Publication title

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology










School of Natural Sciences


CSIRO Publishing

Place of publication

Collingwood, Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences

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