How significant is nocturnal sap flow?

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Abstract

Nocturnal sap flow (Qn) has been found to occur across many taxa, seasons and biomes. There is no general understanding as to how much Qn occurs and whether it is a significant contribution to total daily sap flow (Q). A synthesis of the literature and unpublished data was made to determine how significant is Qn, as a proportion of Q (%Qn), across seasons, biomes, phylogenetic groups and different thermometric sap flow methods. A total of 98 species were analysed to find that %Qn, on average, was 12.03% with the highest average dataset of 69.00%. There was significantly less %Qn in winter than in other temperate seasons, and significantly less %Qn in the wet season than in the dry season. The equatorial and tropical biomes had significantly higher %Qn than the warm temperate and nemoral biomes. The heat ratio method (HRM) and the thermal dissipation (TDP) method had significantly higher %Qn than the heat balance method. Additional analysis between HRM and TDP found HRM to have significantly higher %Qn in winter, wet season and various biomes. In all but one out of 246 cases Qn occurred, demonstrating that Qn is significant and needs to be carefully considered in sap flow and related studies.

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