|Title||Photosynthetic and stomatal responses to variable light in a cool-season and warm-season prairie forb|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1996|
|Authors||Fay, PA, Knapp, AK|
|Journal||International Journal of Plant Science|
Species differences in photosynthetic and stomatal responses to steady-state and variable light were examined in two co-occurring tallgrass prairie forbs, the cool-season legume Baptisia bracteata var. glabrescens and the warm-season composite Helianthus annuus. Previous studies indicated that these species might have similar responses to short-term, minutes-long shade because of their similar growth forms. However, photosynthetic carbon gain, oxygen evolution, transpiration, and leaf xylem pressure potential measurements showed that Helianthus was far more responsive than Baptisia to changes in light availability. Helianthus had higher photosynthetic capacity, photosynthetic temperature optimum, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rates, rapid stomatal closure during shade, and delayed photosynthetic recovery when light levels increased, traits common to species exposed to high temperatures or periodic drought stress. Baptisia, active under cooler, wetter conditions than Helianthus, had lower photosynthetic capacity, photosynthetic temperature optimum, stomatal conductance, and transpiration, and no stomatal response to shade, responses typifying species that experience little water stress. We suggest that environmental and physiological factors may combine to reinforce greatly different photosynthetic and stomatal responses to short-term shade in species with similar growth form, especially in habitats with long, seasonally varying growing conditions.