The effects of soil-water availability on leaf light acclimation and whole-plant carbon gain were examined in Arisaema heterophyllum Blume, a riparian deciduous forest understorey plant. Photosynthesis, above-ground morphology and ramet biomass accumulation (relative growth rate: RGR of a corm for a full leaf life-span) were measured on plants raised under three light treatments combined with two soil water conditions. The two higher light treatments during growth (high: max. 550 μmol photons m-2 s -1; medium: 150 μmol photons m-2 s-1) resulted in a twofold increase in RGRs, 30% higher photosynthetic capacities and 20% less photosynthetic low-light use efficiency than those under a low light condition (50 μmol photons m-2 s-1). Leaf area was the smallest and leaf mass area ratio was the largest under the high light treatment. Water stress decreased both photosynthetic rate and leaf area and, hence, RGR in all the light regimes. However, water stress did not alter the general patterns of physiological and morphological responses to different light regimes. We estimated that higher photosynthetic low-light use efficiency and larger leaf area in the low light leaf would lead to a threefold carbon gain as compared with the high light leaf under simulated low light conditions. Both experimental and simulation results suggest that the physiological and morphological acclimations tend to be beneficial to carbon gain when light availability is low, whereas they favor increased water use efficiency when light availability is sufficiently high.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science