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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GRASSLAND PRODUCTIVITY AND CARBON DYNAMICS: CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGE IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2, PRECIPITATION, AND PLANT SPECIES COMPOSITION, ...

Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Variability in light-use efficiency for gross primary productivity on Great Plains grasslands

Authors
item Polley, Wayne
item Phillips, Beckie
item Frank, Albert
item Bradford, James
item Sims, Phillip
item Morgan, Jack
item Kiniry, James

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 5, 2010
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
Citation: Polley, H.W., Phillips, B.L., Frank, A.B., Bradford, J.A., Sims, P.L., Morgan, J.A., Kiniry, J.R. 2011. Variability in light-use efficiency for gross primary productivity on Great Plains grasslands. 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management, February 2-10, 2011, Billings, Montana.

Technical Abstract: Gross primary productivity (GPP) often is estimated at regional scales by multiplying the amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) absorbed by the plant canopy (PARa) by light-use efficiency (eg; GPP/PARa). Mass flux techniques are being used to calculate eg. Flux-based estimates of eg depend partly on how PAR absorption by plants is modeled as a function of leaf area index (LAI). We used CO2 flux measurements from three native grasslands in the Great Plains of the USA to determine how varying the value of the radiation extinction coefficient (k) that is used to calculate PARa from LAI affected variability in estimates of eg for each week. The slope of linear GPP-PARa regression, an index of eg, differed significantly among the 18 site-years of data, indicating that inter-annual differences in eg contributed to the overall variability in eg values. GPP-PARa slopes differed among years and sites regardless of whether k was assigned a fixed value or varied as an exponential function of LAI. Permitting k to change with LAI reduced overall variability in eg, reduced the slope of a negative linear regression between seasonal means of eg and potential evapotranspiration (PET), and clarified the contribution of inter-annual differences in precipitation to variation in eg. Our results imply that greater attention be given to defining dynamics of the k coefficient for ecosystems with low LAI and that PET and precipitation be used to constrain the eg values employed in light-use efficiency algorithms to calculate GPP for Great Plains grasslands.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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