The last decade has seen rapid and major advances in our understanding of the physiological ecology of plants. This volume reviews some of these advances and new challenges. The chapters cover five broad themes: resource acquisition and utilization; interactions between organisms; responses to global environmental changes; ecosystems; and integration and scaling. This book brings together an unrivalled collection of leading practitioners in the discipline from North America, Europe and Australia and adopts a broad approach, ranging from the molecular to the ecosystem level. It has proven a valuable tool for researchers and advanced students in the discipline.
O.L. LANGE, P.S. NOBEL, C.B. OSMOND, and H. ZIEGLER Growth, development and reproductive success of individual plants depend on the interaction, within tolerance limits, of the factors in the physical, chemical and biological environment. The first two volumes of this series addressed fea tures of the physical environment (Vol. 12A) and the special responses of land plants as they relate to water use and carbon dioxide assimilation (Vol. 12B). In this volume we consider specific aspects of the chemical and biological envi ronment, and whereas the previous volumes were primarily concerned with the atmospheric interactions, our emphasis here shifts very much to the soil. This complex medium for plant growth was briefly reviewed in Chapter 17, Volume 12A. Since it is difficult to determine the precise physical and chemical interactions in the soil, it is even more difficult to determine the important biological interactions among organisms. Nevertheless there is growing aware ness of the significance of these interactions and their effects on physiological processes in the individual plant.
The environment of plants; The sun's radiation as a source of energy; Carbon utilization and dry matter production; The utilization and cycling of nitrogen; The utilization and cycling of mineral elements; Water relations; Effects of temperature; Penodicity in climate and vegetation; Sinopsis.
O. L. LANGE, P. S. NOBEL, C. B. OSMOND, and H. ZIEGLER In the last volume of the series 'Physiological Plant Ecology' we have asked contributors to address the bases of ecosystem processes in terms of key plant physiological properties. It has often been suggested that it is not profitable to attempt analysis of complex living systems in terms of the properties of component individuals or populations, i. e. , the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, assessments of ecological research over the last century show that other approaches are seldom more helpful. Although it is possible to describe complex systems of living organisms in holistic terms, the most useful descriptions are found in terms of the birth, growth and death of individ uals. This allows analysis of performance of the parts of the whole considering their synergistic and antagonistic interrelationships and is the basis for a synthe sis which elucidates the specific properties of a system. Thus it seems that the description of ecosystem processes is inevitably anchored in physiological under standing. If enquiry into complex living systems is to remain a scientific exercise, it must retain tangible links with physiology. Of course, as was emphasized in Vol. 12A, not all of our physiological understanding is required to explore ecosystem processes. For pragmatic purposes, the whole may be adequantely represented as a good deal less than the sum of its parts.
O. L. LANGE, P. S. NOBEL, C. B. OSMOND, and H. ZIEGLER In the original series of the Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, plant water relations and photosynthesis were treated separately, and the connection between phenomena was only considered in special chapters. O. STOCKER edited Vol ume III, Pjlanze und Wasser/Water Relations of Plants in 1956, and 4 years later, Volume V, Parts I and 2, Die COrAssimilation/The Assimilation of Carbon Dioxide appeared, edited by A. PIRSON. Until recently, there has also been a tendency to cover these aspects of plant physiology separately in most text books. Without doubt, this separation is justifiable. If one is specifically inter ested, for example in photosynthetic electron transport, in details of photophos phorylation, or in carbon metabolism in the Calvin cycle, it is not necessary to ask how these processes relate to the water relations of the plant. Accordingly, this separate coverage has been maintained in the New Series of the Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology. The two volumes devoted exclusively to photosynthesis are Volume 5, Photosynthesis I, edited by A. TREBST and M. AVRON, and Volume 6, Photosynthesis II, edited by M. GIBBS and E. LATZKO. When consider ing carbon assimilation and plant water relations from an ecological point of view, however, we have to recognize that this separation is arbitrary.