Author(s): Beerling DJ
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Abstract Microscopic turgor-operated gas valves on leaf surfaces-stomata-facilitate gas exchange between the plant and the atmosphere, and respond to multiple environmental and endogenous cues. Collectively, stomatal activities affect everything from the productivity of forests, grasslands and crops to biophysical feedbacks between land surface vegetation and climate. In 1976, plant physiologist Paul Jarvis reported an empirical model describing stomatal responses to key environmental and plant conditions that predicted the flux of water vapour from leaves into the surrounding atmosphere. Subsequent theoretical advances, building on this earlier approach, established the current paradigm for capturing the physiological behaviour of stomata that became incorporated into sophisticated models of land carbon cycling. However, these models struggle to accurately predict observed trends in the physiological responses of Northern Hemisphere forests to recent atmospheric CO2 increases, highlighting the need for improved representation of the role of stomata in regulating forest-climate interactions. Bridging this gap between observations and theory as atmospheric CO2 rises and climate change accelerates creates challenging opportunities for the next generation of physiologists to advance planetary ecology and climate science. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
This article was published in Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
and referenced in Journal of Remote Sensing & GIS