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Relationship between maximum leaf photosynthesis, nitrogen content and specific leaf area in balearic endemic and non-endemic mediterranean species



Relationship between maximum leaf photosynthesis, nitrogen content and specific leaf area in balearic endemic and non-endemic mediterranean species



Annals of Botany 92(2): 215-222



Gas exchange parameters, leaf nitrogen content and specific leaf area (SLA) were measured in situ on 73 C3 and five C4 plant species in Mallorca, west Mediterranean, to test whether species endemic to the Balearic Islands differed from widespread, non-endemic Mediterranean species and crops in their leaf traits and trait inter-relationships. Endemic species differed significantly from widespread species and crops in several parameters; in particular, photosynthetic capacity, on an area basis (A), was 20 % less in endemics than in non-endemics. Similar differences between endemics and non-endemics were found in parameters such as SLA and leaf nitrogen content per area (Na). Nevertheless, most of the observed differences were found only within the herbaceous deciduous species. These could be due to the fact that most of the non-endemic species within this group have adapted to ruderal areas, while none of the endemics occupies this kind of habitat. All the species-including the crops-showed a positive, highly significant correlation between photosynthetic capacity on a mass basis (Am), leaf nitrogen content on a mass basis (Nm) and SLA. However, endemic species had a lower Am for any given SLA and Nm. Hypotheses are presented to explain these differences, and their possible role in reducing the distribution of many endemic Balearic species is discussed.

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Accession: 003912695

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12805082

DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcg123


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