Effects of seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity on the carbon fluxes of a temperate deciduous forest

David Medvigy, Su Jong Jeong, Kenneth L. Clark, Nicholas S. Skowronski, Karina V.R. Schäfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seasonal variation in photosynthetic capacity is an important part of the overall seasonal variability of temperate deciduous forests. However, it has only recently been introduced in a few terrestrial biosphere models, and many models still do not include it. The biases that result from this omission are not well understood. In this study, we use the Ecosystem Demography 2 model to simulate an oak-dominated stand in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Two alternative model configurations are presented, one with seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity (SPC-ON) and one without seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity (SPC-OFF). Under typical climate conditions, the two configurations simulate values of monthly gross primary productivity (GPP) as different as 0.05 kg C m-2 month-1 in the early summer and 0.04 kg C m-2 month-1 in the fall. The differences between SPC-ON and SPC-OFF are amplified when there is temporal correlation between photosynthetic capacity and climate anomalies or disturbances. Warmer spring temperatures enhance GPP in SPC-ON more than in SPC-OFF, but warmer fall temperatures enhance GPP in SPC-OFF more than in SPC-ON. Defoliation by gypsy moth, a class of disturbance that typically happens in late spring in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, has a disproportionately negative impact on GPP in SPC-ON. It is concluded that including seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity in models will improve simulations of monthly scale ecosystem functioning as well as of longer-term responses to climate change and disturbances. Key Points Effects of seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity on GPP are evaluated Seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity affects responses to defoliation Seasonal variation of photosynthetic capacity affects GPP phenology

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1714
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research G: Biogeosciences
Volume118
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Forestry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Palaeontology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Ecosystem Demography model
  • GPP
  • New Jersey Pine Barrens
  • defoliation
  • phenology
  • photosynthetic capacity

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