Foliar temperature-respiration response functions for broad-leaved tree species in the southern Appalachians

Paul V. Bolstad, Katherine Mitchell, James M. Vose

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74 Scopus citations


We measured leaf respiration in 18 eastern deciduous forest tree species to determine if there were differences in temperature-respiration response functions among species or among canopy positions. Leaf respiration rates were measured in situ and on detached branches for Acer pensylvanicum L., A. rubrum L., Betula spp. (B. alleghaniensis Britt. and B. lenta L.), Carya glabra (Mill.) Sweet, Cornus florida L., Fraxinus spp. (primarily F. americana L.), Liriodendron tulipifera L., Magnolia fraseri Walt., Nyssa sylvatica Marsh., Oxydendrum arboreum L., Platanus occidentalis L., Quercus alba L., Q. coccinea Muenchh., Q. prinus L., Q. rubra L., Rhododendron maximum L., Robinia psuedoacacia L., and Tilia americana L. in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Dark respiration was measured on fully expanded leaves at 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C with an infrared gas analyzer equipped with a temperature-controlled cuvette. Temperature-respiration response functions were fit for each leaf. There were significant differences in response functions among species and by canopy position within species. These differences were observed when respiration was expressed on a mass, nitrogen, or area basis. Cumulative nighttime leaf respiration was calculated and averaged over ten randomly selected nights for each leaf. Differences in mean cumulative nighttime respiration were statistically significant among canopy positions and species. We conclude that effects of canopy position and species on temperature-respiration response functions may need to be considered when making estimates of whole-tree or canopy respiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-878
Number of pages8
JournalTree physiology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Broad-leaved trees
  • Canopy position
  • Leaf respiration
  • Q


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