• Intraspecific Variation of Aboveground Woody Biomass Increment in Hybrid Poplar at High Temperature

      Moore, David J.P.; Shiach, Ian M.; Moore, David J.P.; Monson, Russell K.; Papuga, Shirley A. (The University of Arizona., 2017)
      In the continental United States, mean surface air temperature is expected to increase by up to 5°C within 100 years. With hotter temperatures, leaf budbreak is expected to occur earlier in forests, and leaf area is expected to increase in locations where temperature is limiting. The response of plant photosynthesis to hotter temperatures is less certain; plant productivity could increase or decrease. Past studies have found intraspecific variation in the responses of forest tree productivity, phenology, canopy leaf area, and leaf isoprene emission to warming, which all influence carbon uptake and yield for agricultural tree species; it is therefore important to understand not only how hot climates affect carbon uptake and biomass production between different tree species, but also in different genotypes of the same species. We conducted a common garden study at the Biosphere 2 research center near Oracle, AZ, USA. We created a hybrid poplar plantation of 168 trees, which were planted as cuttings in January 2013. The trees used in this study are comprised of 5 distinct genotypes of Populus deltoides × trichocarpa from a range of average annual air temperatures. We measured photosynthetic capacity, leaf phenological timing, canopy leaf area and aboveground woody biomass in 2014 growing season, and leaf isoprene emission in the 2015 growing season. We observed a strong effect of genotype on aboveground woody biomass increment, implying strong local adaptation to the home range and limited phenotypic plasticity in terms of physiological and biometric responses to high temperature environments. Our study suggests that genotypes from hotter home ranges are able to maintain photosynthetic capacity and canopy leaf area late into the growing season, despite high temperatures, and thus produce more aboveground woody biomass. This study may have implications for agricultural management—as temperatures warm where managers currently grow hybrid poplar for agricultural or other purposes, the genotypes from those home ranges would likely have reduced yield; managers could investigate the use of genotypes from home ranges with higher average temperatures to replace the vulnerable local varieties.