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ARS Home » Plains Area » Temple, Texas » Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #209263

Title: Response of evapotranspiration from tallgrass prairie vegetation to CO2 at subambient to elevated concentrations

item Polley, Wayne
item Johnson, Hyrum
item Fay, Philip

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2007
Publication Date: 9/5/2007
Citation: Polley, H.W., Johnson, H.B., Fay, P.A. 2007. Response of evapotranspiration from tallgrass prairie vegetation to CO2 at subambient to elevated concentrations. In: Proceedings of the Ecological Society of America, August 5-10, 2007, San Jose, California. 2007 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Effects of CO2 enrichment on leaf transpiration are well-documented, but our understanding of how CO2 interacts with other variables to regulate evapotranspiration is more limited. We installed weighing lysimeters planted to species characteristic of tallgrass prairie into a field chamber used to regulate CO2 along a subambient to elevated gradient. Lysimeters with three soils types were studied to determine how CO2 effects on evapotranspiration per unit of leaf area (ETla) vary with leaf area index (LAI), soil type, and environmental variables (soil water deficit from field capacity, photosynthetically-active radiation, air temperature, air vapor pressure deficit). CO2 enrichment reduced ETla. The CO2-caused decrease in ETla was greatest at relatively-low temperatures and low LAI for all soils combined. Higher temperatures countered the CO2 effect by increasing ETla more at elevated than subambient CO2. Higher LAI also countered the CO2 effect by decreasing ETla more at subambient than elevated concentrations. Plant (LAI) and environmental effects on ETla differed among soils, possibly because plant growth patterns and physiology differed among soils. Our results imply that the CO2 effect on ETla will vary with seasonal changes in temperature and LAI, independently of seasonal shifts in leaf age and physiological activity. The CO2-caused decrease in ETla should be greatest early in the growing season when temperatures are mild and the plant canopy is re-establishing.