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Leaf stomatal characters influence the response of terrestrial evapotranspiration to climate change and are used as proxies for the reconstruction of past atmospheric [CO2]. We examined the phenotypic response of stomatal index (SI), density (SD) and aperture (AP) to rising atmospheric CO2 in 15 species after four years exposure to a field CO2 gradient (200 to 550 μmol mol−1 atmospheric [CO2]) or at three Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) sites. Along the CO2 gradient, SI and SD showed no evidence of a decline to increasing [CO2], while AP decreased slightly. There was no significant change in SI, SD or AP with CO2 across FACE experiments. Without evolutionary changes, SI and SD may not respond to atmospheric [CO2] in the field and are unlikely to decrease in a future high CO2 world.


Atmospheric carbon dioxide; Elevated CO2; Evapotranspiration; Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE); Stomata—Research; Stomatal aperture (AP); Stomatal density (SD); Stomatal index (SI)


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