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A cost-benefit analysis of leaves of four Australian savanna species

Eamus, D and Prichard, H (1998). A cost-benefit analysis of leaves of four Australian savanna species. Tree Physiology,18(8-9):537-545.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 42 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 48 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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ISI LOC 000075580200007
Title A cost-benefit analysis of leaves of four Australian savanna species
Author Eamus, D
Prichard, H
Journal Name Tree Physiology
Publication Date 1998
Volume Number 18
Issue Number 8-9
ISSN 0829-318X   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0031712550
Start Page 537
End Page 545
Total Pages 9
Place of Publication Victoria, Canada
Publisher Heron Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract We conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the contrasting phenologies of two evergreen and two deciduous species of the savannas of north Australia. Stomatal conductance, rates of light-saturated assimilation (Amax) and dark respiration were measured for six leaves from each of five or six trees. These leaves were then analyzed for total nitrogen, ether-soluble lipids, ash content, and heat of combustion. Construction and maintenance costs, nitrogen-use efficiencies and instantaneous transpiration efficiencies were then calculated from these data. Evergreen species had significantly lower specific leaf area, leaf nitrogen and leaf ash content than deciduous species. Evergreen species also had significantly higher heat of combustion and lipid content of crude extracts than deciduous species. Light-saturated assimilation rates were higher in evergreen species on a leaf area basis, but were higher in deciduous species on a leaf dry weight basis. In both evergreen and deciduous species, Amax and total Kjeldahl nitrogen were linearly related. Similarly, nitrogen-use efficiency did not differ among species. Leaf construction costs were significantly higher for evergreen species than for deciduous species, but maintenance costs did not differ among species. Evergreen species had a higher cost:benefit ratio than deciduous species but because of their longer-lived leaves, the payback interval was longer in evergreen species than in deciduous species. These results support the hypotheses that: (1) longer-lived leaves are more expensive to construct than shorter-lived leaves, and (2) there is a higher investment of nitrogen into short-lived leaves to support a higher Amax over a shorter payback interval. We conclude that deciduous and evergreen species partition resources both temporally and spatially, thereby reducing interspecies competition.
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