We studied ozone (O(3)) uptake by European larch (Larix decidua Mill.) needles under ambient conditions at both a low and a high elevation site. At a given ambient O(3) concentration, the rate of O(3) uptake by needles was effectively controlled by stomatal conductance and, hence, by factors such as light, humidity and water status, which control stomatal conductance. At both study sites, atmospheric water vapor pressure deficit (VPD) was the climatic factor most closely correlated with ambient O(3) concentration. Thus, when ambient O(3) concentrations were highest, O(3) flux into the needles tended to be restricted by narrowing of the stomata. Mitigation of potential O(3) stress by stomatal closure was most marked at the low elevation site where both soil water stress and atmospheric VPD were greater than at the high elevation site.
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