Night-time decline in plant respiration is consistent with substrate depletion

Jones, Simon; Mercado Montoya, Lina ORCID:; Bruhn, Dan; Raoult, Nina; Cox, Peter M.. 2024 Night-time decline in plant respiration is consistent with substrate depletion. Communications Earth & Environment, 5 (1), 148. 9, pp.

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Understanding the response of plant respiration to climate change is key to determining whether the global land carbon sink continues into the future or declines. Most global vegetation models use a classical growth-maintenance approach, which predicts that nocturnal plant respiration is controlled by temperature only. However, recently published observations of plant respiration show a decline through the night even at constant temperature, which these global models cannot reproduce. Here we assess the role of respiratory substrates in this observed decline by evaluating an alternative model of plant respiration, in which the rate of respiration at constant temperature is instead dependent on the size of available substrate pools. We find that the observed decline in nocturnal respiration is reproduced by a model with just two substrate pools, one fast and one slow. These results demonstrate a need to change the way that plant respiration is represented in global vegetation models, moving to models based on labile pools which represent only a fraction of total plant biomass. These models naturally represent plant acclimation via changing pool-sizes and may have a significant impact on the long-term predictions of the global land carbon sink.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2662-4435
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: carbon cycle, climate and earth system modelling, plant physiology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 26 Mar 2024 13:57 +0 (UTC)

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