LeafWeb (http://leafweb.ornl.gov) represents an innovative, effective and efficient way to provide a community service and gather globally distributed plant ecophysiological/biochemical data needed for synthesis studies and parameterizing global models. The correct analysis of leaf gas exchange measurements to estimate fundamental photosynthetic parameters (e.g., Vcmax, Jmax and TPU in the FvCB model) and mesophyll conductance requires not only deep understanding of leaf physiology and biochemistry but also highly sophisticated mathematical skills (Gu et al. 2010).

  • The availability of the LeafWeb service removes a heavy mathematical burden from researchers so that they can focus on what is most important to them: the biological processes revealed by their data. 
  • LeafWeb enables preservation of the data it receives from researchers and ecosystems located in all parts of the world. 

The value of LeafWeb has been demonstrated by its contribution to improved understanding of photosynthetic processes and mesophyll diffusion (Sun et al. 2014a and b).

Plan for LeafWeb

LeafWeb functions and services will be enhanced and expanded to better serve the rapidly developing scientific needs of users.

  • LeafWeb’s user interface will be improved for optimum performance of multiple users (as opposed to its current one-user-at-a-time processing).
  • The capabilities of LeafWeb will be expanded beyond A/Ci curve analysis to the evaluation of light response curves and leaf fluorescence with the Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) fluorometry and saturation actinic beam method. Such data are important for understanding and modeling plant photosynthesis at different spatial and temporal scales.
  • We also hope to include C4 species in LeafWeb.

CAM species are currently not represented in ESMs. But if there is such a need in the future, LeafWeb should also consider adding functionality for analyzing CAM photosynthesis.


Gu, L., S.G. Pallardy, K. Tu, B.E. Law, S.D. Wullschleger (2010) Reliable estimation of biochemical parameters from C3 leaf photosynthesis-intercellular carbon dioxide response curves. Plant, Cell and Environment 33, 1852-1874.

Sun Y, Gu L, Dickinson RE, Pallardy SG, Baker J, Cao Y, DaMatta FM, Dong X, Ellsworth D, Goethem DV, Jensen AM, Law BE, Loos R, Martins SCV, Norby RJ, Warren J, Weston D, Winter K (2014a) Asymmetrical effects of mesophyll conductance on fundamental photosynthetic parameters and their relationships estimated from leaf gas exchange measurements. Plant Cell and Environment 37, 978-994.

Sun Y, Gu L, Dickinson RE, Norby RJ, Pallardy SG, Hoffman FM (2014b) Impact of mesophyll diffusion on estimated global land CO2 fertilization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 15774–15779, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1418075111.