Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 508164
Title A meta-analysis of leaf nitrogen distribution within plant canopies
Author(s) Hikosaka, Kouki; Anten, Niels P.R.; Borjigidai, Almaz; Kamiyama, Chiho; Sakai, Hidemitsu; Hasegawa, Toshihiro; Oikawa, Shimpei; Iio, Atsuhiro; Watanabe, Makoto; Koike, Takayoshi; Nishina, Kazuya; Ito, Akihiko
Source Annals of Botany 118 (2016)2. - ISSN 0305-7364 - p. 239 - 247.
Department(s) Crop and Weed Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Canopy photosynthesis - functional group - leaf area index - light distribution - light extinction coefficient - model - nitrogen allocation - nitrogen use - optimization

Background and aims Leaf nitrogen distribution in the plant canopy is an important determinant for canopy photosynthesis. Although the gradient of leaf nitrogen is formed along light gradients in the canopy, its quantitative variations among species and environmental responses remain unknown. Here, we conducted a global meta-analysis of leaf nitrogen distribution in plant canopies. Methods We collected data on the nitrogen distribution and environmental variables from 393 plant canopies (100, 241 and 52 canopies for wheat, other herbaceous and woody species, respectively). Key Results The trends were clearly different between wheat and other species; the photosynthetic nitrogen distribution coefficient (Kb) was mainly determined by leaf area index (LAI) in wheat, whereas it was correlated with the light extinction coefficient (KL) and LAI in other species. Some other variables were also found to influence Kb. We present the best equations for Kb as a function of environmental variables and canopy characteristics. As a more simple function, Kb = 0·5KL can be used for canopies of species other than wheat. Sensitivity analyses using a terrestrial carbon flux model showed that gross primary production tended to be more sensitive to the Kb value especially when nitrogen content of the uppermost leaf was fixed. Conclusion Our results reveal that nitrogen distribution is mainly driven by the vertical light gradient but other factors such as LAI also have significant effects. Our equations contribute to an improvement in the projection of plant productivity and cycling of carbon and nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems.

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