Joint control of terrestrial gross primary productivity by plant phenology and physiology
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Engineering sciences. Technology
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. - Washington, D.C.
, p. 2788-2793
University of Antwerp
Terrestrial gross primary productivity (GPP) varies greatly over time and space. A better understanding of this variability is necessary for more accurate predictions of the future climatecarbon cycle feedback. Recent studies have suggested that variability in GPP is driven by a broad range of biotic and abiotic factors operating mainly through changes in vegetation phenology and physiological processes. However, it is still unclear how plant phenology and physiology can be integrated to explain the spatiotemporal variability of terrestrial GPP. Based on analyses of eddycovariance and satellite-derived data, we decomposed annual terrestrial GPP into the length of the CO2 uptake period (CUP) and the seasonal maximal capacity of CO2 uptake (GPPmax). The product of CUP and GPPmax explained >90% of the temporal GPP variability in most areas of North America during 20002010 and the spatial GPP variation among globally distributed eddy flux tower sites. It also explained GPP response to the European heatwave in 2003 (r2 = 0.90) and GPP recovery after a fire disturbance in South Dakota (r2 = 0.88). Additional analysis of the eddycovariance flux data shows that the interbiome variation in annual GPP is better explained by that in GPPmax than CUP. These findings indicate that terrestrial GPP is jointly controlled by ecosystem-level plant phenology and photosynthetic capacity, and greater understanding of GPPmax and CUP responses to environmental and biological variations will, thus, improve predictions of GPP over time and space.