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  1. Abstract

    The oak (Quercus) species of eastern North America are declining in abundance, threatening the many socioecological benefits they provide. We discuss the mechanisms responsible for their loss, many of which are rooted in the prevailing view that oaks are drought tolerant. We then synthesize previously published data to comprehensively review the drought response strategies of eastern US oaks, concluding that whether or not eastern oaks are drought tolerant depends firmly on the metric of success. Although the anisohydric strategy of oaks sometimes confers a gas exchange and growth advantage, it exposes oaks to damaging hydraulic failure, such that oaks are just as or more likely to perish during drought than neighboring species. Consequently, drought frequency is not a strong predictor of historic patterns of oak abundance, although long-term climate and fire frequency are strongly correlated with declines in oak dominance. The oaks’ ability to survive drought may become increasingly difficult in a drier future.

  2. Abstract. At the leaf level, stomata control the exchange of water and carbon across the air–leaf interface. Stomatal conductance is typically modeledempirically, based on environmental conditions at the leaf surface. Recently developed stomatal optimization models show great skills at predictingcarbon and water fluxes at both the leaf and tree levels. However, how well the optimization models perform atlarger scales has not been extensively evaluated. Furthermore, stomatal models are often used with simple single-leaf representations of canopy radiative transfer (RT), such asbig-leaf models. Nevertheless, the single-leaf canopy RT schemes do not have the capability to model optical properties of the leaves nor the entirecanopy. As a result, they are unable to directly link canopy optical properties with light distribution within the canopy to remote sensing dataobserved from afar. Here, we incorporated one optimization-based and two empirical stomatal models with a comprehensive RT model in the landcomponent of a new Earth system model within CliMA, the Climate Modelling Alliance. The model allowed us to simultaneously simulate carbon and waterfluxes as well as leaf and canopy reflectance and fluorescence spectra. We tested our model by comparing our modeled carbon and water fluxes andsolar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) to two flux tower observations (a gymnospermmore »forest and an angiosperm forest) and satellite SIFretrievals, respectively. All three stomatal models quantitatively predicted the carbon and water fluxes for both forests. The optimization model,in particular, showed increased skill in predicting the water flux given the lower error (ca. 14.2 % and 21.8 % improvement for thegymnosperm and angiosperm forests, respectively) and better 1:1 comparison (slope increases from ca. 0.34 to 0.91 for the gymnosperm forest andfrom ca. 0.38 to 0.62 for the angiosperm forest). Our model also predicted the SIF yield, quantitatively reproducing seasonal cycles for bothforests. We found that using stomatal optimization with a comprehensive RT model showed high accuracy in simulating land surface processes. Theever-increasing number of regional and global datasets of terrestrial plants, such as leaf area index and chlorophyll contents, will helpparameterize the land model and improve future Earth system modeling in general.« less
  3. Whitehead, David (Ed.)
    Abstract Hydraulic stress in plants occurs under conditions of low water availability (soil moisture; θ) and/or high atmospheric demand for water (vapor pressure deficit; D). Different species are adapted to respond to hydraulic stress by functioning along a continuum where, on one hand, they close stomata to maintain a constant leaf water potential (ΨL) (isohydric species), and on the other hand, they allow ΨL to decline (anisohydric species). Differences in water-use along this continuum are most notable during hydrologic stress, often characterized by low θ and high D; however, θ and D are often, but not necessarily, coupled at time scales of weeks or longer, and uncertainty remains about the sensitivity of different water-use strategies to these variables. We quantified the effects of both θ and D on canopy conductance (Gc) among widely distributed canopy-dominant species along the isohydric–anisohydric spectrum growing along a hydroclimatological gradient. Tree-level Gc was estimated using hourly sap flow observations from three sites in the eastern United States: a mesic forest in western North Carolina and two xeric forests in southern Indiana and Missouri. Each site experienced at least 1 year of substantial drought conditions. Our results suggest that sensitivity of Gc to θ varies acrossmore »sites and species, with Gc sensitivity being greater in dry than in wet sites, and greater for isohydric compared with anisohydric species. However, once θ limitations are accounted for, sensitivity of Gc to D remains relatively constant across sites and species. While D limitations to Gc were similar across sites and species, ranging from 16 to 34% reductions, θ limitations to Gc ranged from 0 to 40%. The similarity in species sensitivity to D is encouraging from a modeling perspective, though it implies that substantial reduction to Gc will be experienced by all species in a future characterized by higher D.« less
  4. null (Ed.)