Optimal Stomatal Behavior Around the World


Stomatal conductance (gs) is a key land-surface attribute as it links transpiration, the dominant component of global land evapotranspiration, and photosynthesis, the driving force of the global carbon cycle. Despite the pivotal role of gs in predictions of global water and carbon cycle changes, a global scale database and an associated globally applicable gs model that enable predictions of stomatal behavior are lacking. In a recent study, researchers present a database of globally distributed gs obtained in the field for a wide range of plant functional types (PFTs) and biomes. They found that stomatal behavior differs among PFTs according to their marginal carbon cost of water use, as predicted by the theory underpinning the optimal stomatal model and the leaf and wood economics spectrum. They also demonstrate a global relationship with climate. These findings provide a robust theoretical framework for understanding and predicting gs behavior across biomes and across PFTs that can be applied to regional, continental, and global-scale modeling of ecosystem productivity, energy balance, and ecohydrological processes in a future changing climate.


Lin, Y.-S., et al. 2015. “Optimal Stomatal Behaviour Around the World,” Nature Climate Change 5, 459–64. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2550.