Endogenous circadian regulation of carbon dioxide exchange in terrestrial ecosystems

Víctor Resco de Dios, Michael L. Goulden, Kiona Ogle, Andrew D. Richardson, David Y. Hollinger, Eric A. Davidson, Josu G. Alday, Greg A. Barron-Gafford, Arnaud Carrara, Andrew S. Kowalski, Walt C. Oechel, Borja R. Reverter, Russell L. Scott, Ruth K. Varner, Rubén Díaz-Sierra, José M. Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


It is often assumed that daytime patterns of ecosystem carbon assimilation are mostly driven by direct physiological responses to exogenous environmental cues. Under limited environmental variability, little variation in carbon assimilation should thus be expected unless endogenous plant controls on carbon assimilation, which regulate photosynthesis in time, are active. We evaluated this assumption with eddy flux data, and we selected periods when net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was decoupled from environmental variability in seven sites from highly contrasting biomes across a 74° latitudinal gradient over a total of 36 site-years. Under relatively constant conditions of light, temperature, and other environmental factors, significant diurnal NEE oscillations were observed at six sites, where daily NEE variation was between 20% and 90% of that under variable environmental conditions. These results are consistent with fluctuations driven by the circadian clock and other endogenous processes. Our results open a promising avenue of research for a more complete understanding of ecosystem fluxes that integrates from cellular to ecosystem processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1956-1970
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal change biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosphere-atmosphere interactions
  • Canopy conductance
  • Circadian clock
  • Ecosystem exchange
  • Gas exchange
  • Global change
  • Photosynthesis
  • Source/sink regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • General Environmental Science


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