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Novel stable isotope approach to reconstruct leaf temperature

 

One crucial but overlooked aspect of vegetation response to global warming is the capacity of plants to regulate their temperature. Leaves perform critical temperature-dependent functions that drive tree persistence under climate change. Yet, we critically lack leaf temperature assessments because of the difficulties associated with these measurements. The project aims at developing a novel approach that reconstructs leaf temperature over multiple time scales using plant water isotopes. We will use a unique manipulative experiment with infrared cameras that continuously monitor leaf temperature and determine the oxygen and hydrogen isotopic signals in leaf compounds to reconstruct leaf temperatures via mechanistic models. Finding an efficient approach to track leaf temperature is a prerequisite for improving our understanding of leaf and canopy-scale function, benchmarking land surface models, and developing sustainable management.