Photoperiod and Nitrogen Supply Limit the Scope of Northward Migration and Seed Transfer of Black Spruce in a Future Climate Associated with Doubled Atmospheric CO2 Concentration


The predicated changes in precipitation and temperature associated with the continued elevation of atmospheric CO2 concentration will trigger the northward shift of the Climate Envelopes for 130 North America tree species by as much as 10 degrees. However, climate envelope models do not take into account changes in other factors that may also influence the survival and growth of plants at the predicted new locations, such as photoperiod and nutrient regimes. This study investigated how photoperiod and nitrogen supply would affect the ecophysiological traits of black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill) B. S. P.) that are critical for survival and growth at new locations predicted by climate envelope models. We exposed black spruce seedlings to the photoperiod regime at the seed origin (PS) and that 10° north of the seed origin (PNM) as predicted by climate envelope models under the current and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration and different levels of N supply (30 vs. 300 μmol·mol-1 N). We found that the PNM and the 30 μmol·mol-1 N supply both had negative impact on the development of seedling cold hardiness in the fall, and led to earlier burst of the terminal bud and greater rate of mortality in the following growing season. While the PNM stimulated seedling growth in the first growing season, the effect was not sustained in the second growing season. Our results suggest that the photoperiod regimes and poor nutrient conditions at higher latitudes will likely constrain the scope of the northward migration or seed transfer of black spruce.

Share and Cite:

Li, J. , Dang, Q. and Man, R. (2015) Photoperiod and Nitrogen Supply Limit the Scope of Northward Migration and Seed Transfer of Black Spruce in a Future Climate Associated with Doubled Atmospheric CO2 Concentration. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 189-200. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.61022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[2] McKenney, Daniel W., Pedlar, J.H., Lawrence, K., Campbell, K. and Hutchinson, M.F. (2007) Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Distribution of North American Trees. BioScience, 57, 939-948.
[3] McKenney, D.W., Pedlar, J.H., Rood, R.B. and Price, D. (2011) Revisiting Projected Shifts in the Climate Envelopes of North American Trees Using Updated General Circulation Models. Global Change Biology, 17, 2720-2730.
[4] Walther, G.R., Post, E., Convey, P., Menzel, A., Parmesan, C., Beebee, T.J.C., Fromentin, J.M., Hoegh-Guldberg, O. and Bairlein, F. (2002) Ecological Responses to Recent Climate Change. Nature, 416, 389-395.
[5] Bronson, D.R., Gower, S.T., Tanner, M. and Van Herk, I. (2009) Effect of Ecosystem Warming on Boreal Black Spruce Bud Burst and Shoot Growth. Global Change Biology, 15, 1534-1543.
[6] Hansen, J., Ruedy, R. and Sato, M. (1996) Global Surface Air Temperature in 1995: Return to Pre-Pinatubo Level. Geophysical Research Leiters, 23, 1665-1668.
[7] Chen, C., Hill, J.K., Ohlemuller, R., Roy, D.B. and Thomas, C.D. (2011) Rapid Range Shifts of Species Associated with High Levels of Climate Warming. Science, 333, 1024-1026.
[8] Pitelka, L.F. (1997) Plant Migration and Climate Change. American Scientist, 85, 464-473.
[9] Thomas, B. and Vince-Prue, D. (1997) Photoperiodism in Plants. Second Edition, Academic Press, London.
[10] Marschner, H. (1995) Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. Academic Press, San Diego.
[11] Man, R.Z., Kayahara, G.J., Dang, Q.L. and Rice, J.A. (2009) A Case of Severe Frost Damage Prior to Budbreak in Young Conifers in Northeastern Ontario: Consequence of Climate Change? The Forestry Chronicle, 85, 453-462.
[12] Weiser, C.J. (1970) Cold Resistance and Injury in Woody Plants: Knowledge of Hardy Plant Adaptations to Freezing Stress May Help Us to Reduce Winter Damage. Science, 169, 1269-1278.
[13] Li, P.H. and Sakai, A. (1978) Plant Cold Hardiness and Freezing Stress. Academic Press, New York.
[14] Colombo, S.J., Zhao, S.Y. and Blumwald, E. (1995) Frost Hardiness Gradients in Shoots and Roots of Picea mariana Seedlings. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 10, 32-36.
[15] Hay, R.K.M. (1990) The Influence of Photoperiod on the Dry Matter Production of Grasses and Cereals. New Phytologist, 116, 233-254.
[16] Houlton, B.Z., Wang, Y.P., Vitousek, P.M. and Field, C.B. (2008) A Unifying Framework for Dinitrogen Fixation in the Terrestrial Biosphere. Nature, 454, 327-330.
[17] Couteaux, M.M., Bottner, P. and Berg, B. (1995) Litter Decomposition, Climate and Liter Quality. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 10, 63-66.
[18] Robinson, C.H. (2002) Controls on Decomposition and Soil Nitrogen Availability at High Latitudes. Plant and Soil, 242, 65-81.
[19] Landis, T.D. (1989) Mineral Nutrients and Fertilization. In: Landis, T.D., Tinus, R.W., McDonald, S.E. and Barnett, J.P., Eds., The Container Tree Nursery Manual, Vol. 4, Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington DC, 1-67.
[20] Miller, B.D. and Timmer, V.R. (1997) Nutrient Dynamics and Carbon Partitioning in Nutrient Loaded Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P. Seedlings during Hardening. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 12, 122-129.
[21] Puertolas, J., Gil, L. and Pardos, J.A. (2005) Effects of Nitrogen Fertilization and Temperature on Frost Hardiness of Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) Seedlings Assessed by Chlorophyll Fluorescence. Forestry, 78, 501-511.
[22] Bigras, F.J. and Bertrand, A. (2006) Responses of Picea mariana to Elevated CO2 Concentration during Growth, Cold Hardening and Dehardening: Phenology, Cold Tolerance, Photosynthesis and Growth. Tree Physiology, 26, 875-888.
[23] Norby, R.J., Warren, J.M., Iversen, C.M., Medlyn, B.E. and McMurtrie, R.E. (2010) CO2 Enhancement of Forest Productivity Constrained by Limited Nitrogen Availability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 19368-19373.
[24] D’Aoust, A.L. and Hubac, C. (1986) Phytochrome Action and Frost Hardening in Black Spruce Seedlings. Physiologia Plantarum, 67, 141-144.
[25] Bigras, F.J., Gonzalez, A., D’Aoust, A.L. and Hebert, C. (1996) Frost Hardiness, Bud Phenology and Growth of Containerized Picea mariana Seedlings Grown at Three Nitrogen Levels and Three Temperature Regimes. New Forests, 12, 243-259.
[26] Pearson, R.G. and Dawson, T.P. (2003) Predicting the Impacts of Climate Change on the Distribution of Species: Are Bioclimate Envelope Models Useful? Global Ecology and Biogeography, 12, 361-371.
[27] Astronomical Applications Department, U. S. Naval Observatory (2011) Table of Sunrise/Sunset for an Entire Year.
[28] Hijmans, R.J., Cameron, S.E., Parra, J.L., Jones, P.G. and Jarvis, A. (2005) Very High Resolution Interpolated Climate Surfaces for Global Land Areas. International Journal of Climatology, 25, 1965-1978.
[29] Bergeron, O., Lamhamedi, M.S., Margolis, H.A., Bernier, P.Y. and Stowe, D.C. (2004) Irrigation Control and Physiological Responses of Nursery-Grown Black Spruce Seedlings (1 + 0) Cultivated in Air-Slit Containers. HortScience, 39, 599-605.
[30] Colombo, S.J., Webb, D.P. and Glerum, C. (1984) Frost Hardiness Testing: An Operational Manual for Use with Extended Greenhouse Culture. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Forest Research Report No. 110, 1-14.
[31] Colombo, S.J., Glerum, C. and Webb, D.P. (2003) Daylength, Temperature and Fertilization Effects on Desiccation Resistance, Cold Hardiness and Root Growth Potential of Picea mariana Seedlings. Annals of Forest Science, 60, 307-317.
[32] DeLucia, E.H. and Thomas, R.B. (2000) Photosynthetic Responses to CO2 Enrichment of Four Hardwood Species in a Forest Understory. Oecologia, 122, 11-19.
[33] El Kohen, A. and Mousseau, M. (1994) Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2 and Mineral Nutrition on Growth and CO2 Exchange of Sweet Chestnut Seedlings (Castanea sativa). Tree Physiology, 14, 679-690.
[34] Norby, R.J. and Iversen, C.M. (2006) Nitrogen Uptake, Distribution, Turnover, and Efficiency of Use in a CO2-Enriched Sweetgum Forest. Ecology, 87, 5-14.
[35] Yazaki, K., Ishida, S., Kawagishi, T., Fukatsu, E., Maruyama, Y., Kitao, M., Tobita, H., Koike, T. and Funada, T.R. (2004) Effects of Elevated CO2 Concentration on Growth, Annual Ring Structure and Photosynthesis in Larix kaempferi Seedlings. Tree Physiology, 24, 941-949.
[36] Zhang, S.R., Dang, Q.L. and Yu, X.G. (2006) Nutrient and [CO2] Elevation Had Synergistic Effects on Biomass Production but Not on Biomass Allocation of White Birch Seedlings. Forest Ecology and Management, 234, 238-244.
[37] Wang, Z.M., Lechowicz, M.J. and Potvin, C. (1995) Responses of Black Spruce Seedlings to Simulated Present versus Future Seedbed Environments. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 25, 545-554.
[38] Chapin III, F.S. (1980) The Mineral Nutrition of Wild Plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 11, 233-260.
[39] Guo, J.Y., Yang, Y., Wang, G.X., Yang, L.D. and Sun, X.Y. (2010) Ecophysiological Responses of Abies fabri Seedlings to Drought Stress and Nitrogen Supply. Physiologia Plantarum, 139, 335-347.
[40] Colombo, S.J., Glerum, C. and Webb, D.P. (1989) Winter Hardening in First-Year Black Spruce (Picea mariana) Seedlings. Physiologia Plantarum, 76, 1-9.
[41] Odlum, K.D. and Colombo, S.J. (1989) The Influence of Night Temperature under Declining Photoperiod on Bud Initiation in Black Spruce Seedlings. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 19, 274-275.
[42] Colombo, S.J. and Templeton, C.W.G. (2006) Bud and Crown Architecture of White Spruce and Black Spruce. Trees, 20, 633-641.
[43] Krause, G. and Weis, E. (1984) Chlorophyll Fluorescence as a Tool in Plant Physiology. Photosynthesis Research, 5, 139-157.
[44] Krause, G.H., Somersalo, S., Osmond, C.B., Briantais, J.M. and Schreiber, U. (1989) Fluorescence as a Tool in Photosynthesis Research: Application in Studies of Photoinhibition, Cold Acclimation and Freezing Stress [and Discussion]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 323, 281-293.
[45] Rikala, R. and Repo, T. (1997) The Effect of Late Summer Fertilization on the Frost Hardening of Second-Year Scots Pine Seedlings. New Forests, 14, 33-44.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.