ISSN 1021-4437, Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2007, Vol. 54, No. 5, pp. 582–588. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2007.
Original Russian Text © O.A. Semikhatova, T.I. Ivanova, O.V. Kirpichnikova, 2007, published in Fiziologiya Rastenii, 2007, Vol. 54, No. 5, pp. 659–665.
Respiration, as a source of metabolites and energy,
is closely related to growth and plant tolerance to
adverse environmental factors. Therefore, the study of
respiration in arctic plants is important for resolving a
number of ecological and physiological problems, such
as productivity of wild and cultivated plants grown in
northern latitudes, carbon turnover under low tempera-
ture conditions, and potential responses of arctic vege-
tation to possible climate warming. Furthermore, the
study of respiration in boreal plants provides an
approach to understanding the ways of plant adaptation
to low temperature conditions.
Early measurements of respiration in plants of
boreal zones were performed on Kildin Island (
 and Greenland (
N) . Later studies (e.g., )
established the concept of comparatively high respira-
tion rates in plants of cold habitats (Arctic and high-
mountain regions), although some data were inconsis-
tent with this view [4–7]. It was found later that the
plants of all climatic zones, including Arctic, exhibit
similar respiration rates at average temperatures char-
acteristic of their habitats [6, 8, 9]. This phenomenon,
ﬁrst observed by Stocker , was termed the Stocker’s
rule. The validity of this rule is largely proven by stud-
ies of respiration in plants inhabiting mountain areas.
The high-rate respiration in plants native to cold habi-
tats is caused to a great extent by structural changes in
leaves: enlarged cells, comparatively small speciﬁc vol-
ume of vacuoles, enlarged mitochondria, and elevated
frequency of mitochondria. These structural changes
were also revealed in some species inhabiting Wrangel
Cardamine pratensis, Ranunculus sul-
Stocker’s rule predicts that respiration in Arctic plants
and in plants of temperate zone at
would proceed at equal rates [11, 12] while a short-term
elevation of ambient temperature (e.g., to
result in a higher respiration rate in northern plants.
This concept raises new questions, such as a possible
depletion of assimilates in northern plants upon climate
warming. This question could be answered by thorough
studying plant respiration in cold environments at vari-
ous temperatures. The measurements carried out by
some authors [e.g., 5, 9, 13] established that respiration
disturbances produce a substantially smaller increase in
temperature in boreal and high-mountain plants than in
temperate zone plants. Quantitative characteristics of
respiration as a function of temperature and their
changes upon variable length of thermal treatment were
determined for 22 plant species inhabiting Wrangel
Island  and for related species inhabiting Kola Pen-
insula . The optimum and critical temperatures
were found to be much lower for arctic plants than for
the same species inhabiting temperate climate zones.
Recent studies paid a great deal of attention to changes
in the Vant’ Hoff coefﬁcients (
) used for simulation
ﬂuxes and/or plant productivity . There is
evidence of comparatively high
values for plants
from cold habitats [12, 17].
The topics in respiration of Arctic and high-moun-
tain plants include the question of whether the afore-
Comparative Study of Dark Respiration
in Plants Inhabiting Arctic (Wrangel Island)
and Temperate Climate Zones
O. A. Semikhatova, T. I. Ivanova, and O. V. Kirpichnikova
Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Professora Popova 2, St. Petersburg, 197376 Russia;
fax: 7 (812) 234-4512; e-mail email@example.com
Received August 29, 2006
—Comparative analysis of dark respiration was carried out for 18 plant species inhabiting arctic zone
(Wrangel Island, lat.
N) and temperate zone (Leningrad oblast, lat.
N). For 15 pairs of species exam-
ined, the Stocker’s rule was proved valid; i.e., respiration rates of identical species were equal at average tem-
peratures of their natural habitats. The concept of respiratory features in boreal and mountain plants is described
in its historic development. The possible causes for controversial data are explained. It is concluded that gas
exchange measurements in natural plant habitats are the only valid means for characterizing plant respiration.
Only such measurements should provide the basis for the discussion of global climate changes.
Key words: Arctic plants - dark respiration - temperature of natural habitats - global climate changes
: RR—respiration rate.