Methanol and isoprene emissions from the fast growing tropical pioneer species Vismia guianensis (Aubl.) Pers. (Hypericaceae) in the central Amazon forest
- 1Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division, Earth Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Rd, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
- 2National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA), Ave. Andre Araujo 2936, Campus II, Building LBA, Manaus, AM 69.080-97, Brazil
- 3School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
- 4Department of Geography, University of California Berkeley, 507 McCone Hall #4740, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Abstract. Isoprene (Is) emissions by plants represent a loss of carbon and energy resources leading to the initial hypothesis that fast growing pioneer species in secondary tropical forests allocate carbon primarily to growth at the expense of isoprenoid defenses. In this study, we quantified leaf isoprene and methanol emissions from the abundant pantropical pioneer tree species Vismia guianensis and ambient isoprene concentrations above a diverse secondary forest in the central Amazon. As photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) was varied (0 to 3000 µmol m−2 s−1) under standard leaf temperature (30 °C), isoprene emissions from V. guianensis increased without saturation up to 80 nmol m−2 s−1. A nonlinear increase in isoprene emissions with respect to net photosynthesis (Pn) resulted in the fraction of Pn dedicated to isoprene emissions increasing with light intensity (up to 2 % of Pn). Emission responses to temperature under standard light conditions (PAR of 1000 µmol m−2 s−1) resulted in the classic uncoupling of isoprene emissions (Topt, iso > 40 °C) from net photosynthesis (Topt, Pn = 30.0–32.5 °C) with up to 7 % of Pn emitted as isoprene at 40 °C. Under standard environmental conditions of PAR and leaf temperature, young V. guianensis leaves showed high methanol emissions, low Pn, and low isoprene emissions. In contrast, mature leaves showed high Pn, high isoprene emissions, and low methanol emissions, highlighting the differential control of leaf phenology over methanol and isoprene emissions. High daytime ambient isoprene concentrations (11 ppbv) were observed above a secondary Amazon rainforest, suggesting that isoprene emissions are common among neotropical pioneer species. The results are not consistent with the initial hypothesis and support a functional role of methanol during leaf expansion and the establishment of photosynthetic machinery and a protective role of isoprene for photosynthesis during high temperature extremes regularly experienced in secondary rainforest ecosystems.