Bridging drought experiment and modeling: representing the differential sensitivities of leaf gas exchange to drought

Shuang Xi Zhou*, I. Colin Prentice, Belinda E. Medlyn

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
    19 Downloads (Pure)


    Global climate change is expected to increase drought duration and intensity in certain regions while increasing rainfall in others. The quantitative consequences of increased drought for ecosystems are not easy to predict. Process-based models must be informed by experiments to determine the resilience of plants and ecosystems from different climates. Here, we demonstrate what and how experimentally derived quantitative information can improve the representation of stomatal and non-stomatal photosynthetic responses to drought in large-scale vegetation models. In particular, we review literature on the answers to four key questions: (1) Which photosynthetic processes are affected under short-term drought? (2) How do the stomatal and non-stomatal responses to short-term drought vary among species originating from different hydro-climates? (3) Do plants acclimate to prolonged water stress, and do mesic and xeric species differ in their degree of acclimation? (4) Does inclusion of experimentally based plant functional type specific stomatal and non-stomatal response functions to drought help Land Surface Models to reproduce key features of ecosystem responses to drought? We highlighted the need for evaluating model representations of the fundamental eco-physiological processes under drought. Taking differential drought sensitivity of different vegetation into account is necessary for Land Surface Models to accurately model drought responses, or the drought impacts on vegetation in drier environments may be over-estimated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1965
    Number of pages12
    JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Drought acclimation
    • Flux measurement
    • J
    • Land surface model
    • Mesophyll conductance
    • Photosynthesis
    • Stomatal and non-stomatal limitation
    • V


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