Modelling the carbon balance in bryophytes and lichens: Presentation of PoiCarb 1.0, a new model for explaining distribution patterns and predicting climate‐change effects

Nikolić N., Zotz G. & Bader M.Y.
American Journal of Botany
111: e16266 [21 p.]
Premise: Bryophytes and lichens have important functional roles in many ecosystems. Insight into their CO2‐exchange responses to climatic conditions is essential for understanding current and predicting future productivity and biomass patterns, but responses are hard to quantify at time scales beyond instantaneous measurements. We present PoiCarb 1.0, a model to study how CO2‐exchange rates of these poikilohydric organisms change through time as a function of weather conditions. Methods: PoiCarb simulates diel fluctuations of CO2 exchange and estimates long‐term carbon balances, identifying optimal and limiting climatic patterns. Modelled processes were net photosynthesis, dark respiration, evaporation and water uptake. Measured CO2‐ exchange responses to light, temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and thallus water content (calculated in a separate module) were used to parameterize the model's carbon module. We validated the model by comparing modelled diel courses of net CO2 exchange to such courses from field measurements on the tropical lichen Crocodia aurata. To demonstrate the model's usefulness, we simulated potential climate‐change effects. Results: Diel patterns were reproduced well, and the modelled and observed diel carbon balances were strongly positively correlated. Simulated warming effects via changes in metabolic rates were consistently negative, while effects via faster drying were variable, depending on the timing of hydration. Conclusions: Reproducing weather‐dependent variation in diel carbon balances is a clear improvement compared to simply extrapolating short‐term measurements or potential photosynthetic rates. Apart from predicting climate‐change effects, future uses of PoiCarb include testing hypotheses about distribution patterns of poikilohydric organisms and guiding conservation strategies for species. Keywords: bryophytes, carbon balance, climate change, CO2 exchange, Crocodia.
Friday, 15 March 2024 22:05