Stomatal adjustment mechanisms should show patterned variation



Speculations on carbon dioxide starvation, late tertiary evolution of stomatal regulation and floristic modernization.

by Robinson J. M. (1994)

Umweltforschungszentrwn Leipzig-Halle, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

in Plant, Cell and Environment 1994;17345354 – DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.1994.tb00303.x – 

Google Scholar –


Ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]a) has apparently declined from values above 200μmol mol−1 to values below 200μmol mol−1 within the last several million years. The lower end of this range is marginal for C3 plants.

I hypothesize that:

(1) declining [CO2]a imposed a physiological strain on plants, and plant taxa evolving under declining [CO2]a tended to develop compensating mechanisms, including increased stomatal efficiency;

(2) angiosperms were better able to adjust to declining [CO2]than were gymnosperms and pteridophytes; and

(3) angiosperm adjustment has been uneven.

Fast-evolving taxa (e.g. grasses and herbs) have been better able to adapt to CO2 starvation. If these propositions are true, stomatal adjustment mechanisms should show patterned variation, and a single pattern of stomatal regulation cannot be assumed.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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