Leaf reflectance spectroscopy captures variation in carboxylation capacity across species, canopy environment and leaf age in lowland moist tropical forests

Jin Wu, Alistair Rogers, Loren P. Albert, Kim Ely, Neill Prohaska, Brett T. Wolfe, Raimundo Cosme Oliveira, Scott R. Saleska, Shawn P. Serbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the pronounced seasonal and spatial variation in leaf carboxylation capacity (Vc,max) is critical for determining terrestrial carbon cycling in tropical forests. However, an efficient and scalable approach for predicting Vc,max is still lacking. Here the ability of leaf spectroscopy for rapid estimation of Vc,max was tested. Vc,max was estimated using traditional gas exchange methods, and measured reflectance spectra and leaf age in leaves sampled from tropical forests in Panama and Brazil. These data were used to build a model to predict Vc,max from leaf spectra. The results demonstrated that leaf spectroscopy accurately predicts Vc,max of mature leaves in Panamanian tropical forests (R2 = 0.90). However, this single-age model required recalibration when applied to broader leaf demographic classes (i.e. immature leaves). Combined use of spectroscopy models for Vc,max and leaf age enabled construction of the Vc,max–age relationship solely from leaf spectra, which agreed with field observations. This suggests that the spectroscopy technique can capture the seasonal variability in Vc,max, assuming sufficient sampling across diverse species, leaf ages and canopy environments. This finding will aid development of remote sensing approaches that can be used to characterize Vc,max in moist tropical forests and enable an efficient means to parameterize and evaluate terrestrial biosphere models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-674
Number of pages12
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume224
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • Earth system models
  • gas exchange
  • plant functional traits
  • seasonality
  • vegetation spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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