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Seasonal differences in leaf attributes in Australian tropical tree species: family and habitat comparisons


Prior, LD and Bowman, DMJS and Eamus, D, Seasonal differences in leaf attributes in Australian tropical tree species: family and habitat comparisons, Functional Ecology, 18, (5) pp. 707-718. ISSN 0269-8463 (2004) [Refereed Article]

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2004 British Ecological Society. The definitive published version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.0269-8463.2004.00885.x


1. An individual evergreen leaf in the northern Australian savanna biome experiences seasonal extremes in rainfall, raising questions of whether there is a corresponding shift in the physiology of these leaves, and whether estimates of leaf function for the biome differ between wet and dry seasons. 2. A range of leaf attributes was measured for 21 tree species in four contrasting habitats during the wet season, and again during the dry season for the 14 species that retained leaves. 3. The 14 leaf-retaining species showed decreases in assimilation rates, foliar saturated water content and chlorophyll content, and increases in leaf mass per area and leaf density between wet and dry seasons. Species means were strongly correlated between seasons for attributes other than assimilation and stomatal conductance. 4. Seasonal variation in CO2 assimilation rates was larger in non-Myrtaceous species than in the leaf-retaining Myrtaceous species that largely dominate the biome, and also varied considerably among the four habitats, which had different edaphic conditions. Assimilation per unit mass decreased between the wet and dry seasons by only 5% in the Melaleuca swamp and 17% in the Eucalyptus open forest, compared with 47% in the dry monsoon forest and 57% in the mixed woodland. 5. Biome means differed between seasons because wet-season means included measurements of fully deciduous species which tended to have large, thin, nitrogen-rich leaves.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other biological sciences
Research Field:Global change biology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:46526
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:49
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2007-09-19
Last Modified:2011-10-14

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