Imperial College London

Professor Iain Colin Prentice

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts



+44 (0)20 7594 2354c.prentice




1.1Centre for Population BiologySilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Collalti, A and Tjoelker, MG and Hoch, G and Mäkelä, A and Guidolotti, G and Heskel, M and Petit, G and Ryan, MG and Battipaglia, G and Matteucci, G and Prentice, I},
doi = {10.1111/gcb.14857},
journal = {Global Change Biology},
pages = {1739--1753},
title = {Plant respiration: controlled by photosynthesis or biomass?},
url = {},
volume = {26},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Two simplifying hypotheses have been proposed for wholeplant respiration. One links respiration to photosynthesis; the other to biomass. Using a firstprinciples carbon balance model with a prescribed live woody biomass turnover, applied at a forest research site where multidecadal measurements are available for comparison, we show that if turnover is fast the accumulation of respiring biomass is low and respiration depends primarily on photosynthesis; while if turnover is slow the accumulation of respiring biomass is high and respiration depends primarily on biomass. But the first scenario is inconsistent with evidence for substantial carryover of fixed carbon between years, while the second implies far too great an increase in respiration during stand development—leading to depleted carbohydrate reserves and an unrealistically high mortality risk. These two mutually incompatible hypotheses are thus both incorrect. Respiration is not linearly related either to photosynthesis or to biomass, but it is more strongly controlled by recent photosynthates (and reserve availability) than by total biomass.
AU - Collalti,A
AU - Tjoelker,MG
AU - Hoch,G
AU - Mäkelä,A
AU - Guidolotti,G
AU - Heskel,M
AU - Petit,G
AU - Ryan,MG
AU - Battipaglia,G
AU - Matteucci,G
AU - Prentice,I
DO - 10.1111/gcb.14857
EP - 1753
PY - 2020///
SN - 1354-1013
SP - 1739
TI - Plant respiration: controlled by photosynthesis or biomass?
T2 - Global Change Biology
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 26
ER -