Effects of ozone on inter- and intra-species competition and photosynthesis in mesocosms of Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens

Environ Pollut. 2009 Jan;157(1):208-14. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Sep 5.


Trifolium repens and Lolium perenne were exposed as both monocultures and two-species mixtures to an episodic rural ozone regime in large, well-watered containers within solardomes for 12 weeks. There were reductions in biomass for T. repens, but not L. perenne, and the proportion of T. repens decreased in ozone-exposed mixtures compared to the control. In addition, leaf biomass of T. repens was maintained at the expense of biomass partitioning to the stolons. The decreased growth corresponded with decreased photosynthetic capacity for T. repens, however, by the end of the exposure there was also decreased photosynthetic capacity of L. perenne, a species previously considered insensitive to ozone. The observed decreases in photosynthetic efficiency and capacity in elevated ozone indicate that the ability of such ubiquitous vegetation to act as a sink for atmospheric carbon may be reduced in future climates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / pharmacology*
  • Biomass
  • Ecology / methods
  • Lolium / growth & development*
  • Lolium / metabolism
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / pharmacology*
  • Ozone / pharmacology*
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Stems / growth & development
  • Plant Stems / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Trifolium / growth & development*
  • Trifolium / metabolism


  • Air Pollutants
  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Ozone