Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Plants, Soils, and Biometeorology


Bruce Bugbee


In the literature on plant respiration, there are two viewpoints concerning the source of respiratory control: supply (photosynthate availability) or demand (temperature dependent) limitations. While different studies indicate the primary dependency for respiration is either the supply or demand side, the two paradigms cannot both be true. The relative importance of each paradigm may depend on a number of factors including period of time during which respiration is measured, phase of plant development, environmental conditions, and species.

Studies were performed using continuous CO2 gas-exchange instrumentation to monitor short- and long-term changes in whole canopies of lettuce, tomato, soybean, and rice in response to changes in light and temperature during vegetative growth. Respiration in all crops was less sensitive to temperature than previously reported. This is likely due to large amounts of temperature-insensitive growth respiration as a fraction of total respiration during early growth. Carbon use efficiency (CUE) decreased with warm night temperatures, but the change was too small to decrease the final dry mass or carbon gain after night temperatures decreased. Canopies with constant day/night temperature had the same CUE, in elevated CO2 (1,200 μmol moJ- 1), regardless of temperature. In ambient CO2 (400 μmol mol-1), CUE decreased significantly when temperatures were above 32C.

Applying shade initially decreased CUE because of low photosynthesis and high respiration. After about 12 days, canopies acclimated, based on recovery of CUE. Different species acclimated to shade to different extents, but no interaction was evident between light and shade stress. These data were used to predict changes in photosynthesis, respiration, and carbon use efficiency given light, temperature, and CO2 concentrations.