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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020551

The Responses of Plant Leaf CO2/H2O Exchange and Water Use Efficiency to Drought: A Meta-Analysis

1
International Institutes for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
2
Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
3
Zhejiang A&F University, Lin’an, Zhejiang 311300, China
4
School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, No. 8 Fo cheng xi Road, Nanjing 211100, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Hydrology, Water Quality and Ecology)
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Abstract

Persistent drought severely inhibits plant growth and productivity, which negatively affects terrestrial primary productivity worldwide. Therefore, it is important to investigate the impacts of drought on plant leaf CO2/H2O exchange and water use efficiency. This study assessed the responses of net photosynthesis (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration (Tr), and instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE) to drought based on a worldwide meta-analysis of 112 published studies. The results demonstrated that drought decreased Pn, Tr, and Gs significantly and differently among different moderators. C4 plants had smaller Pn reduction than C3 plants, which gives C4 plants an advantage in Pn. But their WUE decreased under drought conditions, indicating a great flexibility in C4 WUE. Annual herbs sacrificed WUE (−6.2%) to maintain efficient Pn. Perennial herbs took a different strategy in response to drought with an increased WUE (25.1%). Deciduous tree species displayed a greater increase in WUE than conifers and evergreen species. Additionally, Gs had a significant correlation with Pn and Tr, but an insignificant correlation with WUE, which could be because WUE is affected by other factors (e.g., air flow, CO2 concentration, and relative humidity). These findings have significant implications for understanding the worldwide effects of drought on plant leaf CO2/H2O exchange and water use efficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought stress; meta-analysis; leaf CO2/H2O exchange; water sue efficiency drought stress; meta-analysis; leaf CO2/H2O exchange; water sue efficiency
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Zhang, J.; Jiang, H.; Song, X.; Jin, J.; Zhang, X. The Responses of Plant Leaf CO2/H2O Exchange and Water Use Efficiency to Drought: A Meta-Analysis. Sustainability 2018, 10, 551.

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