Exploring patterns of thermal acclimation of leaf respiration in a marsh-mangrove ecotone

Research Authorship: Matthew A. Sturchio, Jeff Chieppa, Gabby Canas, Mike Aspinwall

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Aspinwall | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Biology

Abstract: Vegetated coastal ecosystems (saltmarsh, mangroves) make a large contribution to global net primary productivity and C cycling despite covering a small proportion of the earth’s surface. Yet, our understanding of C cycling processes over space and time and in response to temperature remain limited for these ecosystems. At the global scale, respiration is the second largest flux of C (behind photosynthesis), and ~50% of respiration comes from leaves. Respiration is also a key parameter for global models that predict climate-carbon cycle interactions. But respiratory responses to temperature in marsh and mangrove species remain uncertain. Here, we repeatedly measured short-term temperature responses of leaf respiration in a C4 marsh grass species (Spartina alterniflora) and a C3 mangrove species (Avicennia germinans) growing under ambient temperatures and experimental warming at two sites in Florida. We tested whether marsh grasses and mangroves show similar acclimation of leaf respiration to seasonal temperature changes at sites differing in temperature seasonality, and whether acclimation is consistent between plants grown under ambient and warmed conditions.
Graduate Research