Thermal optimality of net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide and underlying mechanisms

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2012

  • Author: Niu, Shuli

    University of Oklahoma, United States

  • Author: Luo, Yiqi

    University of Oklahoma, United States

  • Author: Fei, Shenfeng

    University of Oklahoma, United States

  • Author: Yuan, Wenping

    Beijing Normal University, China

  • Author: Schimel, David

    NEON, Inc., United States

  • Author: Law, Beverly E.

    Oregon State University, United States

  • Author: Ammann, Christof

    Agroscope, Switzerland

  • Author: Altaf Arain, M.

    McMaster University, Canada

  • Author: Arneth, Almut

    Lund University, Sweden

  • Author: Aubinet, Marc

    Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux, Belgium

  • Author: Barr, Alan

    Climate Research Division, Canada

  • Author: Beringer, Jason

    Monash University, Australia

  • Author: Bernhofer, Christian

    Dresden University of Technology, Germany

  • Author: Andrew Black, T.

    University of British Columbia, Canada

  • Author: Buchmann, Nina

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland

  • Author: Cescatti, Alessandro

    European Commission - Joint Research Center, Italy

  • Author: Chen, Jiquan

    University of Toledo, United States

  • Author: Davis, Kenneth J.

    Pennsylvania State University, United States

  • Author: Dellwik, Ebba

    Meteorology, Department of Wind Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000, Roskilde, Denmark

  • Author: Desai, Ankur R.

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Author: Etzold, Sophia

    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

  • Author: Francois, Louis

    Universite de Liege, Belgium

  • Author: Gianelle, Damiano

    Fondazione Edmund Mach

  • Author: Gielen, Bert

    University of Antwerp

  • Author: Goldstein, Allen

    University of California at Berkeley

  • Author: Groenendijk, Margriet

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Author: Gu, Lianhong

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Author: Hanan, Niall

    University of South Dakota

  • Author: Helfter, Carole

    Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

  • Author: Hirano, Takashi

    Hokkaido University

  • Author: Hollinger, David Y.

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • Author: Jones, Mike B.

    Trinity College Dublin

  • Author: Kiely, Gerard

    University College Cork

  • Author: Kolb, Thomas E.

    Northern Arizona University

  • Author: Kutsch, Werner L.

    Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute

  • Author: Lafleur, Peter

    Trent University

  • Author: Lawrence, David M.

    National Center for Atmospheric Research

  • Author: Li, Linghao

    Chinese Academy of Sciences

  • Author: Lindroth, Anders

    Lund University

  • Author: Litvak, Marcy

    University of New Mexico

  • Author: Loustau, Denis

    INRA Institut National de La Recherche Agronomique

  • Author: Lund, Carl Magnus

    Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Author: Marek, Michal

    Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

  • Author: Martin, Timothy A.

    University of Florida

  • Author: Matteucci, Giorgio

    National Research Council of Italy

  • Author: Migliavacca, Mirco

    European Commission - Joint Research Center

  • Author: Montagnani, Leonardo

    Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e l'Ambiente dell'Emilia Romagna, Italy

  • Author: Moors, Eddy


  • Author: William Munger, J.

    Harvard University

  • Author: Noormets, Asko

    North Carolina State University

  • Author: Oechel, Walter

    San Diego State University

  • Author: Olejnik, Janusz

    Poznan University Of Life Sciences

  • Author: U, Kyaw Tha Paw

    University of California at Davis

  • Author: Pilegaard, Kim

    Ecosystems Programme, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000, Roskilde, Denmark

  • Author: Rambal, Serge


  • Author: Raschi, Antonio

    Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

  • Author: Scott, Russell L.

    Southwest Watershed Research Center, United States

  • Author: Seufert, Günther

    European Commission - Joint Research Center

  • Author: Spano, Donatella

    University of Sassari, Italy

  • Author: Stoy, Paul

    Montana State University

  • Author: Sutton, Mark A.

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • Author: Varlagin, Andrej

    Russian Academy of Sciences

  • Author: Vesala, Timo

    University of Helsinki, Finland

  • Author: Weng, Ensheng

    University of Oklahoma

  • Author: Wohlfahrt, Georg

    University of Innsbruck

  • Author: Yang, Bai

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Author: Zhang, Zhongda

    University of Oklahoma

  • Author: Zhou, Xuhui

    Fudan University

View graph of relations

It is well established that individual organisms can acclimate and adapt to temperature to optimize their functioning. However, thermal optimization of ecosystems, as an assemblage of organisms, has not been examined at broad spatial and temporal scales. Here, we compiled data from 169 globally distributed sites of eddy covariance and quantified the temperature response functions of net ecosystem exchange (NEE), an ecosystem‐level property, to determine whether NEE shows thermal optimality and to explore the underlying mechanisms. We found that the temperature response of NEE followed a peak curve, with the optimum temperature (corresponding to the maximum magnitude of NEE) being positively correlated with annual mean temperature over years and across sites. Shifts of the optimum temperature of NEE were mostly a result of temperature acclimation of gross primary productivity (upward shift of optimum temperature) rather than changes in the temperature sensitivity of ecosystem respiration. Ecosystem‐level thermal optimality is a newly revealed ecosystem property, presumably reflecting associated evolutionary adaptation of organisms within ecosystems, and has the potential to significantly regulate ecosystem–climate change feedbacks. The thermal optimality of NEE has implications for understanding fundamental properties of ecosystems in changing environments and benchmarking global models.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)775-783
StatePublished - 2012
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 38


  • Climate change, Optimum temperature, Temperature acclimation, Temperature adaptation, Thermal optimality
Download as:
Download as PDF
Select render style:
Download as HTML
Select render style:
Download as Word
Select render style:

ID: 7729577