CR 71:75-89 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01427

Spatial and seasonal variation in leaf temperature within the canopy of a tropical forest

A. Camilo Rey-Sánchez1,2,5,*, Martijn Slot2,3, Juan M. Posada1, Kaoru Kitajima2,3,4

1Biology Program, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Universidad del Rosario, Cr. 24 # 63C-69, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
2Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Balboa, Republic of Panamá
3Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
4Division of Forest and Biomaterials Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
5Present address: The Ohio State University, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, 2070 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Understanding leaf temperature (Tleaf) variation in the canopy of tropical forests is critical for accurately calculating net primary productivity because plant respiration and net photosynthesis are highly sensitive to temperature. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify the spatiotemporal variation of Tleaf in a semi-deciduous tropical forest in Panama and (2) create a season-specific empirical model to predict Tleaf in the canopy. To achieve this, we used a 42 m tall construction crane for canopy access and monitored the microenvironment within the canopy of mature, 20-35 m tall trees of 5 tropical tree species during the wet and the dry season. Tleaf was correlated to photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) in the wet season but not in the dry season, possibly due to seasonal differences in wind speed, physiology, and canopy phenology. A structural equation model showed that Tleaf is best explained by air temperature (Tair) and PPFD in the wet season, whereas in the dry season, Tair alone predicted most of the variation in Tleaf. These results suggest the utility of an empirical approach to estimate Tleaf variability where simple meteorological data are available. This approach can be incorporated in future models of vegetation-atmosphere carbon and water exchange models of mature tropical forests with similar seasonality.


KEY WORDS: Leaf temperature · Tropical forest · Canopy research · Carbon modeling


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Cite this article as: Rey-Sánchez AC, Slot M, Posada JM, Kitajima K (2016) Spatial and seasonal variation in leaf temperature within the canopy of a tropical forest. Clim Res 71:75-89. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01427

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