Journal Article


Jennifer C. McElwain
Jonathan M. Yearsley
Matthew Haworth
Tracy Lawson
Caroline Elliott-Kingston
Sven P Batke



driver darkness water response time life pressure half closure time stomata time of taxa diversification phylogeny atmospheric co2 size stomatal size atmospheric co2 concentration

Does size matter? Atmospheric CO2 may be a stronger driver of stomatal closing rate than stomatal size in taxa that diversified under low CO2 (2016)

Abstract (1) One strategy for plants to optimise stomatal function is to open and close their stomata quickly in response to environmental signals.  It is generally assumed that small stomata can alter aperture faster than large stomata. (2) We tested the hypothesis that species with small stomata close faster than species with larger stomata in response to darkness by comparing rate of stomatal closure across an evolutionary range of species including ferns, cycads, conifers and angiosperms under controlled ambient conditions (380ppm CO2; 20.9% O2).  (3) The two species with fastest half-closure time and the two species with slowest half-closure time had large stomata while the remaining three species had small stomata, implying that closing rate was not correlated with stomatal size in these species. Neither was response time correlated with stomatal density, phylogeny, functional group or life strategy. (4) Our results suggest that past atmospheric CO2 concentration during time of taxa diversification may influence stomatal response time.  We show that species which last diversified under low or declining atmospheric CO2 concentration close stomata faster than species that last diversified in a high CO2 world.  Low atmospheric [CO2] during taxa diversification may have placed a selection pressure on plants to accelerate stomatal closing to maintain adequate internal CO2 and optimise water use efficiency.
Collections Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Earth Institute Research Collection
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Biology & Environmental Science Research Collection
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> UCD Earth Institute
Ireland -> University College Dublin -> Agriculture and Food Science Research Collection

Full list of authors on original publication

Jennifer C. McElwain, Jonathan M. Yearsley, Matthew Haworth, Tracy Lawson, Caroline Elliott-Kingston, Sven P Batke

Experts in our system

Jennifer C McElwain
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 25
Jonathan M Yearsley
University College Dublin
Matthew Haworth
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 5
Caroline Elliott-Kingston
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 6
S. P. Batke
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 5