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Diffusional limitations explain the lower photosynthetic capacity of ferns as compared with angiosperms in a common garden study


Carriqui, M and Cabrera, HM and Conesa, MA and Coopman, RE and Douthe, C and Gago, J and Galle, A and Galmes, J and Ribas-Carbo, M and Tomas, M and Flexas, J, Diffusional limitations explain the lower photosynthetic capacity of ferns as compared with angiosperms in a common garden study, Plant, Cell & Environment, 38, (3) pp. 448-460. ISSN 1365-3040 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/pce.12402


Ferns are thought to have lower photosynthetic rates than angiosperms and they lack fine stomatal regulation. However, no study has directly compared photosynthesis in plants of both groups grown under optimal conditions in a common environment. We present a common garden comparison of seven angiosperms and seven ferns paired by habitat preference, with the aims of (1) confirming that ferns do have lower photosynthesis capacity than angiosperms and quantifying these differences; (2) determining the importance of diffusional versus biochemical limitations; and (3) analysing the potential implication of leaf anatomical traits in setting the photosynthesis capacity in both groups. On average, the photosynthetic rate of ferns was about half that of angiosperms, and they exhibited lower stomatal and mesophyll conductance to CO2 (gm ), maximum velocity of carboxylation and electron transport rate. A quantitative limitation analysis revealed that stomatal and mesophyll conductances were co-responsible for the lower photosynthesis of ferns as compared with angiosperms. However, gm alone was the most constraining factor for photosynthesis in ferns. Consistently, leaf anatomy showed important differences between angiosperms and ferns, especially in cell wall thickness and the surface of chloroplasts exposed to intercellular air spaces.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:leaf anatomy, photosynthesis, pteridophytes
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Other plant production and plant primary products
Objective Field:Other plant production and plant primary products not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Carriqui, M (Mr Marc Carriqui Alcover)
ID Code:134463
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:93
Deposited By:Office of the School of Natural Sciences
Deposited On:2019-08-14
Last Modified:2020-07-28

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