The use of open-top chambers (OTCs) installed in natural plant cover is one of the approaches to study plant responses to climate change. Three OTCs made from polyethylene film were installed on a herbgrass meadow in the subzone of the southern taiga before the beginning of the growing season. A significant increase in the average daily temperature values (by 0.5°C) and the relative humidity (by 10%) compared to control conditions was observed inside the chambers. Plant height, leaf parameters, and the pigments content were studied for six species of meadow plants during the growing season in two variants—inside the chamber and outside the chamber (control); more than 20 quantitative parameters of the mesophyll were studied for four of the species. It was found that the differences in microclimatic conditions had no effect on plant height and leaf area. A slight decrease in the thickness and density of the leaves and an increased water content were noted inside the OTCs. In contrast to weak changes in external leaf parameters, the internal leaf structure and the content of photosynthetic pigments varied considerably. Warming caused the reduction of the content of chlorophyll and carotenoids per unit leaf area in the majority of studied species, except for Veronica chamaedrys L., but the ratio of pigment forms did not change. Changes in the pigments content in the leaf were associated with some structural rearrangements in the mesophyll, whose mechanism depended on the functional properties of the species. Increased size of palisade cells and the number of chloroplasts per cell was noted in the ruderal species (R/CSR-strategist) Taraxacum officinale Wigg. s. l.; the reduction of chlorophyll content per leaf area occurred due to the decrease in chlorophyll content per a single chloroplast. Decreased number of cells and chloroplasts per leaf unit area without any changes in their size was marked for the species with S/CSR strategy Alchemilla vulgaris L. s. 1. and V. chamaedrys L. in a chamber, but the content of chlorophyll per a chloroplast increased. An increase in the number of cells and a simultaneous decrease in their size was observed in CR-strategist Cirsium setosum (Willd.) Bess. inside the OTC; the chlorophyll content per chloroplast did not change. It was concluded that the acclimation of plants to short-term climate warming was associated with the restructuring of leaf mesophyll, whose mechanism depended on the functional properties of the species.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 19, 2016
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