Exploring optimal stomatal control under alternative hypotheses for the regulation of plant sources and sinks

Roderick Dewar*, Teemu Hölttä, Yann Salmon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Experimental evidence that nonstomatal limitations to photosynthesis (NSLs) correlate with leaf sugar and/or leaf water status suggests the possibility that stomata adjust to maximise photosynthesis through a trade-off between leaf CO2 supply and NSLs, potentially involving source–sink interactions. However, the mechanisms regulating NSLs and sink strength, as well as their implications for stomatal control, remain uncertain. We used an analytically solvable model to explore optimal stomatal control under alternative hypotheses for source and sink regulation. We assumed that either leaf sugar concentration or leaf water potential regulates NSLs, and that either phloem turgor pressure or phloem sugar concentration regulates sink phloem unloading. All hypotheses led to realistic stomatal responses to light, CO2 and air humidity, including conservative behaviour for the intercellular-to-atmospheric CO2 concentration ratio. Sugar-regulated and water-regulated NSLs are distinguished by the presence/absence of a stomatal closure response to changing sink strength. Turgor-regulated and sugar-regulated phloem unloading are distinguished by the presence/absence of stomatal closure under drought and avoidance/occurrence of negative phloem turgor. Results from girdling and drought experiments on Pinus sylvestris, Betula pendula, Populus tremula and Picea abies saplings are consistent with optimal stomatal control under sugar-regulated NSLs and turgor-regulated unloading. Our analytical results provide a simple representation of stomatal responses to above-ground and below-ground environmental factors and sink activity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)639-654
    Number of pages16
    JournalNew Phytologist
    Volume233
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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