The Global Change Research Institute (CzechGlobe) forms a part of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The activities of CzechGlobe focus on issues of global climate change, which by its nature and possible consequences extends beyond the basic thematic segments of atmosphere, ecosystem, and socio-economic system. The mission statement of the Division of Impact Studies and Ecophysiological Analyses is to investigate molecular (key metabolic pathways) and physiological mechanisms responsible for adaptation, acclimation, and resistance of plants to the effects environmental perturbances (in particular elevated CO2 concentration, temperature extremes, drought periods, and changes in spectral composition of light and nutrition supply etc.). Moreover, the Division focus on the development and application of new methodological approaches in environmental metabolomics, phenotyping and early-stress detection in plants.
A complex investigation of plants responses, in particular connected with processes of carbon uptake, to different sky conditions (radiation quality, temperature, vapour pressure deficit etc.) represents one of the major methodological approaches. We have elucidated, among other things, increased light use efficiency of ecosystem carbon uptake under cloudy sky conditions with prevailing diffuse radiation and how forests maintain a positive C balance, despite having an apparently high self-shading degree. Penetration of diffuse radiation into lower canopy depths has direct effects on the productivity and structure of vegetation and is crucial for the modelling of global C cycle. We have also shown that a stimulation of photosynthesis rate by an elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration (EC), in contrary to clear sky, is negligible or even reduced under cloudy sky conditions. Such reduction is associated mainly with EC-stimulated thermal dissipation of absorbed light energy and insufficient openness of stomata. This result indicates that an expected increase in cloud cover associated with climate warming may reduce the stimulatory effect of EC on plants C uptake and growth.
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