Photosynthesis is the process during which plants absorb atmospheric CO2 and via complex biochemical reactions that are energetically driven by light, convert it to biomass. The overall reaction can be summarized as:
The main environmental parameters that affect photosynthesis are light (in terms of PAR, Photosynthetically Active Radiation) and temperature (T). Photosynthesis response to PAR is described by a hyperbolic curve (Figure 1), while photosynthesis response to T by a bell-shaped curve (Figure 2).
One of the main parts of our work is the performance of seasonal measurements of photosynthesis in the field (Photo 1). Measurements are performed with a portable Infra Red Gas Analyser (LCpro+, ADC BioScientific Ltd., Hoddesdon, UK), equipped with a blue/red led light source. Measurements are divided into two categories: random measurements at ambient conditions and measurements at controlled conditions (A-PAR, A-T and A-Ci curves).
Such measurements are used for the study of seasonal photosynthetic performance of species that belong to different functional groups, the study of photosynthesis response to certain environmental or ecophysiological parameters (e.g. response to water stress), as well as the parameterization of a primary productivity model that has been developed in the laboratory (MANTIS, see corresponding section).
Figure 1. Photosynthesis responce to Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR), as measured in the field.
Figure 2. Photosynthesis responce to Temperature (T), as measured in the field.
Photo 1. Measuring photosynthesis of Quercus frainetto in the field with LcPro+ (ADC BioScientific Ltd.).