PhD ceremony: Ms. C. Schmitz, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Thesis: The cost of living temperature compensation of the metabolic rate in plants
Promotor(s): prof. T. Elzenga
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
The basal metabolic rate of organisms, the rate at which organisms take up, transform and expend energy and material, is highly important for whole ecosystem functioning. Differences in the basal metabolic rate might be described by its biomass and temperature dependence.
The thesis of Cordula Schmitz provides an important contribution to the already extensive debate triggered by the MTE. She shows that for species from different thermal environments the metabolic rate can not simply be described by the Arrhenius-term. By acclimation and adaptation organisms appear to adjust to different thermal environments. Furthermore, the biomass scaling for plants might result from size-dependent variations in biomass allocation patterns, as different tissues differ in their metabolic activity. In addition the leaf construction is important for differences in the metabolic rate of plants. Differences in leaf construction are related to species-specific traits, but also to thermal life history, indicating that temperature compensation of the metabolic rate does not only occur adjusting enzymatic reaction but also through changes morphological features. Schmitz concludes that the environmental impact on the metabolic rate of plants is much more complex than described by the MTE.
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