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Effects of free-air carbon dioxide enrichment on sap flow and canopy microclimate of maize grown under different water supply

The rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) affects stomatal conductance and thus transpiration and leaf temperature. We evaluated the effect of elevated [CO2] levels under different water supply on daily sap flow and canopy microclimate (air temperature (Tc) and vapour pressure deficit (VPD)) of maize. The crop was cultivated in circular field plots under ambient (AMB, 378 lmol mol -1) and elevated [CO2] (FACE, 550 lmol mol -1) using free-air CO2 enrichment with sufficient water in 2007, while in 2008 a DRY semicircle received only half as much water as compared to the WET semicircle from mid of July. In 2007, sap flow was measured in WET simultaneously under AMB and FACE conditions and was significantly decreased by elevated [CO2]. In 2008, sap flow was measured in all four treatments but not simultaneously. Therefore, data were correlated with potential evaporation and the slopes were used to determine treatment effects. Drought reduced whole-plant transpiration by 50 % and 37 % as compared to WET conditions under AMB and FACE, respectively. Moreover, CO2 enrichment did not affect sap flow under drought but decreased it under WET by 20 % averaged over both years. The saving of water in the period before the drought treatment resulted in a displacement of dry soil conditions under FACE as compared to AMB. Under WET, CO2 enrichment always increased Tc and VPD during the day. Under DRY, FACE plots were warmer and drier most of the time in August, but cooler and damper short after the start of drought in July and from the end of August onwards. Thus, the CO2 effect on transpiration under drought was variable and detectable rather easy by measuring canopy microclimate.



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