Monday, January 12, 2009

New review on shade tolerance

Another good review out. This time on shade tolerance. Valladares and Niinemets reviewed competing hypotheses underlying shade tolerance, focusing mainly on carbon gain and stress-tolerance hypotheses, as well as sections on acclimation to variation in light and ontogenetic changes. The authors do a good job of capturing the two major contrasting aspects of performance (carbon gain vs. loss) and it is important to incorporate ontogeny explicitly. Their figure demonstrating inverse relationships between drought and shade tolerance is an important one.

Comparing their work with RSWP, it is important to emphasize potential carbon losses that can come from disturbance as well as stress. Also, it seems like understanding of the ontogeny of shade tolerance is better served by beginning to understand how large plants can grow at a given light level, rather than comparing RGR’s at a given light level.

In all, a good, well-timed review.

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