Acclimation to light in planted and naturally regenerated populations of white spruce seedlings

T. Awada, R. E. Redmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Physiological responses to sun and shade were examined in white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) seedlings collected from three naturally regenerated (N1-N3) and three planted (P1-P3) stands in the boreal forest of Saskatchewan. Seedling survival was greater in the sun than in the shade pretreatment periods. Dark respiration declined by 70% in shade- compared with sun-acclimated seedlings; however, the decline was not statistically significant because of the large within-population variation. Quantum yield, total chlorophyll content, specific leaf area, and absolute water content of needles increased by 45, 33, 32, and 50%, respectively, in response to shade. At low light levels, shade-acclimated populations showed greater photosynthetic rates and steeper light-response curves than seedlings growing in full sun. Seedlings of P3, N2, and N3 saturated at about 200 μmol·m-2·s-1 PAR in the shade, with no increase in photosynthesis at higher light intensities. At light saturation, populations P1 and N3 showed similar photosynthetic rates to both light acclimation regimes; populations P2, P3, and N2 had lower light-saturated photosynthesis in sun, compared with shade pretreatment. Only in N1 was photosynthetic rate greater after sun than shade pretreatment; this population behaved like a "sun" and "shade" population depending on pretreatment. Differences in physiological responses to light among populations suggest the presence of more than one ecotype. N1 showed the greatest plasticity in response to light pretreatment. The remaining populations behaved more like shade-adapted populations, with little adjustment to light conditions. Intrapopulation variation was large for both regeneration types. It appears that selection pressure during reforestation was not great enough to cause a decline in intrapopulation variation in planted compared with naturally regenerated white spruce seedlings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1495-1504
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Botany
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000


  • Light acclimation
  • Photosynthesis
  • Picea glauca
  • White spruce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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