Learn how plants respond to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations

How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

Biodiversity (Among Genotypes) -- Summary
In a study of plants from ten different populations of the perennial grass Agrostis curtisii that grows throughout Europe, Norton et al. (1999) could detect no differences in their responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment.  Likewise, Luscher et al. (1998), who collected 9 to 14 genotypes for each of twelve native grassland species growing in Switzerland, could detect no significant differences in CO2 responsiveness within the genotypes of any of the twelve species studied.  Similarly, Roumet et al. (2002) grew 14 genotypes of Bromus erectus and Dactylis glomerata at twice-ambient atmospheric CO2 concentrations and found no significant CO2 x genotype interactions.  Neither could Midgley et al. (1999) detect any differences in the responses of South African Leucadendron genotypes to atmospheric CO2 enrichment, nor could Klus et al. (2001) for 17 genetic families of Plantago lanceolata.

Studies of several genotypes of quaking aspen have also failed to reveal genotypic differences in growth response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment (Kubiske et al., 1998; King et al., 1999; Zak et al., 2000), as have studies of beech and Norway spruce by Egli et al. (1998) and ponderosa pine by Houpis et al. (1999).  All of these studies - as well as experiments with wild radish (Case et al., 1998), mango trees (Schaffer et al., 1977) and honey mesquite (Polley et al., 1999) - thus suggest that the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content will not become a selective factor that favors one genotype over another.  Consequently, if the air's CO2 content continues to rise as it has in the past, it likely will not adversely impact the genotypic diversity of most of earth's plants.

Case, A.L., Curtis, P.S. and Snow, A.A.  1998.  Heritable variation in stomatal responses to elevated CO2 in wild radish, Raphanus raphanistrum (Brassicaceae).  American Journal of Botany 85: 253-258.

Egli, P., Maurer, S., Gunthardt-Goerg, M.S. and Korner, C.  1998.  Effects of elevated CO2 and soil quality on leaf gas exchange and aboveground growth in beech-spruce model ecosystems.  New Phytologist 140: 185-196.

Houpis, J.L.J., Anderson, P.D., Pushnik, J.C. and Anschel, D.J.  1999.  Among-provenance variability of gas exchange and growth in response to long-term elevated CO2 exposure.  Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 116: 403-412.

King, J.S., Pregitzer, K.S. and Zak, D.R.  1999.  Clonal variation in above- and below-ground responses of Populus tremuloides Michaux: Influence of soil warming and nutrient availability.  Plant and Soil 217: 119-130.

Klus, D.J., Kalisz, S., Curtis, P.S., Teeri, J.A. and Tonsor, S.J.  2001.  Family- and population-level responses to atmospheric CO2 concentration: gas exchange and the allocation of C, N, and biomass in Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae).  American Journal of Botany 88: 1080-1087.

Kubiske, M.E., Pregitzer, K.S., Zak, D.R. and Mikan, C.J.  1998.  Growth and C allocation of Populus tremuloides genotypes in response to atmospheric CO2 and soil N availability.  New Phytologist 140: 251-260.

Luscher, A., Hendrey, G.R. and Nosberger, J.  1998.  Long-term responsiveness to free air CO2 enrichment of functional types, species and genotypes of plants from fertile permanent grassland.  Oecologia 113: 37-45.

Midgley, G.F., Wand, S.J.E. and Pammenter, N.W.  1999.  Nutrient and genotypic effects on CO2-responsiveness: photosynthetic regulation in Leucadendron species of a nutrient-poor environment.  Journal of Experimental Botany 50: 533-542.

Norton, L.R., Firbank, L.G., Gray, A.J. and Watkinson, A.R.  1999.  Responses to elevated temperature and CO2 in the perennial grass Agrostis curtisii in relation to population origin.  Functional Ecology 13: 29-37.

Polley, H.W., Tischler, C.R., Johnson, H.B. and Pennington, R.E.  1999.  Growth, water relations, and survival of drought-exposed seedlings from six maternal families of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa): responses to CO2 enrichment.  Tree Physiology 19: 359-366.

Roumet, C., Laurent, G., Canivenc, G. and Roy, J.  2002.  Genotypic variation in the response of two perennial grass species to elevated carbon dioxide.  Oecologia 133: 342-348.

Schaffer, B., Whiley, A.W., Searle, C. and Nissen, R.J.  1997.  Leaf gas exchange, dry matter partitioning, and mineral element concentrations in mango as influenced by elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and root restriction.  Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 122: 849-855.

Zak, D.R., Pregitzer, K.S., Curtis, P.S., Vogel, C.S., Holmes, W.E. and Lussenhop, J.  2000.  Atmospheric CO2, soil-N availability, and allocation of biomass and nitrogen by Populus tremuloidesEcological Applications 10: 34-46.