Adaptation Towards Different Temporal Variability of Light Intensity

Light climate can change extremely fast. In experiments with two congener gymnosperm tree species of the Taiwanese cloud forest (Chamaecyparis obtusa and Chamaecyparis formosensis), it was shown that plant growth can react rapidly towards alterations of light climate (Lai et al. 2005). Differences in abundance and ecological niche of the two species were reflected in growth dynamics: While Chamaecyparis obtusa grew faster in low light intensity and adjusted the amplitude of its diel leaf growth cycle faster towards light intensity changes, Chamaecyparis formosensis profited more strongly from higher light intensity and showed higher growth rates. This correlates with the abundance of Chamaecyparis obtusa under closed canopies of mature forest patches and with the high abundance of Chamaecyparis formosensis in canopy gaps and at the forest edge.

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