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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-228
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-228
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

C3 plants converge on a universal relationship between leaf maximum carboxylation rate and chlorophyll content

Xiaojin Qian1,2, Liangyun Liu1, Holly Croft3,4, and Jingming Chen4 Xiaojin Qian et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100094, China
  • 2College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100094, China
  • 3Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
  • 4Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G3, Canada

Abstract. The leaf maximum carboxylation rate (Vcmax) is one of the crucial parameters in determining the photosynthetic capacity of plants. Providing accurate estimates of leaf Vcmax25 that cover large geographic areas and that incorporate plant seasonality is central to correctly predicting carbon fluxes within the terrestrial global carbon cycle. Chlorophyll, as the main photon-harvesting component in leaves, is closely linked to photosynthesis. However, how the nature of the relationship between the leaf maximum carboxylation rate scaled to 25 °C (Vcmax25) and leaf chlorophyll content varies according to plant type is uncertain. In this study, we investigate whether a universal and stable relationship exists between leaf Vcmax25 and leaf chlorophyll content across different C3 plant types from a plant physiological perspective and verify it using field experiments. Measurements of leaf chlorophyll content (Chl) and CO2 response curves were made on 283 crop, shrub, tree and vegetable leaves in China and the Borden Forest Research Station in southern Ontario, Canada. A strong relationship was found between the leaf Vcmax25 and chlorophyll content across different C3 plant types (R2 = 0.65, P < 0.001). Validation showed that the model performs well, producing relatively low normalized root mean square errors (NRMSE) for crops (0.14), shrubs (0.17), trees (0.12) and vegetables (0.45). The results confirm that leaf chlorophyll content can be a reliable proxy for estimating Vcmax25 across different C3 plant types over space and time, opening the door to accurate spatially continuous estimates of Vcmax25 at the global scale.

Xiaojin Qian et al.
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Xiaojin Qian et al.
Xiaojin Qian et al.
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Short summary
The leaf maximum carboxylation rate (Vcmax) is a key photosynthesis parameter. We attempt to investigate whether a universal and stable relationship exists between leaf Vcmax25 and chlorophyll content across different C3 plant types from a plant physiological perspective and verify it using field experiments. The results confirm that leaf chlorophyll can be a reliable proxy for estimating Vcmax25, providing an operational approach for the global mapping of Vcmax25 across different plant types.
The leaf maximum carboxylation rate (Vcmax) is a key photosynthesis parameter. We attempt to...
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