Ramification has little impact on shoot hydraulic efficiency in the sexually dimorphic genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae).
ABSTRACT: Despite the diversity of branching architectures in plants, the impact of this morphological variation on hydraulic efficiency has been poorly studied. Branch junctions are commonly thought to be points of high hydraulic resistance, but adjustments in leaf area or xylem conduit abundance or dimensions could compensate for the additional hydraulic resistance of nodal junctions at the level of the entire shoot. Here we used the sexually dimorphic genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae) to test whether variation in branch ramification impacts shoot hydraulic efficiency. We found that branch ramification was related to leaf traits via Corner's rules such that more highly ramified shoots had smaller leaves, but that branch ramification had little consistent impact on shoot hydraulic efficiency, whether measured on a leaf area or stem cross-sectional area basis. These results suggest that the presumed increase in resistance associated with branching nodes can be compensated by other adjustments at the shoot level (e.g. leaf area adjustments, increased ramification to add additional branches in parallel rather than in series) that maintain hydraulic efficiency at the level of the entire shoot. Despite large morphological differences between males and females in the genus Leucadendron, which are due to differences in pollination and reproduction between the sexes, the physiological differences between males and females are minimal.
Project description:Models that predict the form of hierarchical branching networks typically invoke optimization based on biomechanical similitude, the minimization of impedance to fluid flow, or construction costs. Unfortunately, due to the small size and high number of vein segments found in real biological networks, complete descriptions of networks needed to evaluate such models are rare. To help address this we report results from the analysis of the branching geometry of 349 leaf vein networks comprising over 1.5 million individual vein segments. In addition to measuring the diameters of individual veins before and after vein bifurcations, we also assign vein orders using the Horton-Strahler ordering algorithm adopted from the study of river networks. Our results demonstrate that across all leaves, both radius tapering and the ratio of daughter to parent branch areas for leaf veins are in strong agreement with the expectation from Murray's law. However, as veins become larger, area ratios shift systematically toward values expected under area-preserving branching. Our work supports the idea that leaf vein networks differentiate roles of leaf support and hydraulic supply between hierarchical orders.
Project description:<h4>Background and aims</h4>The growth of crops in a mixture is more variable and difficult to predict than that in pure stands. Light partitioning and crop leaf area expansion play prominent roles in explaining this variability. However, in many crops commonly grown in mixtures, including the forage species alfalfa, the sensitivity and relative importance of the physiological responses involved in the light modulation of leaf area expansion are still to be established. This study was designed to assess the relative sensitivity of primary shoot development, branching and individual leaf expansion in alfalfa in response to light availability.<h4>Methods</h4>Two experiments were carried out. The first studied isolated plants to assess the potential development of different shoot types and growth periods. The second consisted of manipulating the intensity of competition for light using a range of canopies in pure and mixed stands at two densities so as to evaluate the relative effects on shoot development, leaf growth, and plant and shoot demography.<h4>Key results</h4>Shoot development in the absence of light competition was deterministic (constant phyllochrons of 32·5 °Cd and 48·2 °Cd for primary axes and branches, branching probability of 1, constant delay of 1·75 phyllochron before axillary bud burst) and identical irrespective of shoot type and growth/regrowth periods. During light competition experiments, changes in plant development explained most of the plant leaf area variations, with average leaf size contributing to a lesser extent. Branch development and the number of shoots per plant were the leaf area components most affected by light availability. Primary axis development and plant demography were only affected in situations of severe light competition.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Plant leaf area components differed with regard to their sensitivity to light competition. The potential shoot development model presented in this study could serve as a framework to integrate light responses in alfalfa crop models.
Project description:The hydraulic traits of plants, or the efficiency of water transport throughout the plant hydraulic system, could help to anticipate the impact of climate change and improve crop productivity. However, the mechanisms explaining the role of hydraulic traits on plant photosynthesis and thus, plant growth and yield, are just beginning to emerge. We conducted an experiment to identify differences in growth patterns at leaf, root and whole plant level among four wild olive genotypes and to determine whether hydraulic traits may help to explain such differences through their effect on photosynthesis. We estimated the relative growth rate (RGR), and its components, leaf gas exchange and hydraulic traits both at the leaf and whole-plant level in the olive genotypes over a full year. Photosynthetic capacity parameters were also measured. We observed different responses to water stress in the RGRs of the genotypes studied being best explained by changes in the net CO2 assimilation rate (NAR). Further, net photosynthesis, closely related to NAR, was mainly determined by hydraulic traits, both at leaf and whole-plant levels. This was mediated through the effects of hydraulic traits on stomatal conductance. We observed a decrease in leaf area: sapwood area and leaf area: root area ratios in water-stressed plants, which was more evident in the olive genotype Olea europaea subsp. guanchica (GUA8), whose RGR was less affected by water deficit than the other olive genotypes. In addition, at the leaf level, GUA8 water-stressed plants presented a better photosynthetic capacity due to a higher mesophyll conductance to CO2 and a higher foliar N. We conclude that hydraulic allometry adjustments of whole plant and leaf physiological response were well coordinated, buffering the water stress experienced by GUA8 plants. In turn, this explained their higher relative growth rates compared to the rest of the genotypes under water-stress conditions.
Project description:In angiosperms, many studies have described the inter-specific variability of hydraulic-related traits and little is known at the intra-specific level. This information is however mandatory to assess the adaptive capacities of tree populations in the context of increasing drought frequency and severity. Ten 20-year old European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) provenances representing the entire distribution range throughout Europe and differing significantly in aboveground biomass increment (ABI) by a factor of up to four were investigated for branch wood anatomical, hydraulic, and foliar traits in a provenance trial located in Northern Europe. We quantified to which extend xylem hydraulic and leaf traits are under genetic control and tested whether the xylem hydraulic properties (hydraulic efficiency and safety) trades off with yield and wood anatomical and leaf traits. Our results showed that only three out of 22 investigated ecophysiological traits showed significant genetic differentiations between provenances, namely vessel density (VD), the xylem pressure causing 88% loss of hydraulic conductance and mean leaf size. Depending of the ecophysiological traits measured, genetic differentiation between populations explained 0-14% of total phenotypic variation, while intra-population variability was higher than inter-population variability. Most wood anatomical traits and some foliar traits were additionally related to the climate of provenance origin. The lumen to sapwood area ratio, vessel diameter, theoretical specific conductivity and theoretical leaf-specific conductivity as well as the C:N-ratio increased with climatic aridity at the place of origin while the carbon isotope signature (?(13)C) decreased. Contrary to our assumption, none of the wood anatomical traits were related to embolism resistance but were strong determinants of hydraulic efficiency. Although ABI was associated with both VD and ?(13)C, both hydraulic efficiency and embolism resistance were unrelated, disproving the assumed trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and safety. European beech seems to compensate increasing water stress with growing size mainly by adjusting vessel number and not vessel diameter. In conclusion, European beech has a high potential capacity to cope with climate change due to the high degree of intra-population genetic variability.
Project description:Hydraulics of plants that have different strategies of stomatal regulation under water stress are relatively poorly understood. We explore how root and shoot hydraulics, stomatal conductance (g s), leaf and root aquaporin (AQP) expression, and abscisic acid (ABA) concentration in leaf xylem sap ([ABA]xylemsap) may be coordinated under mild water stress and exogenous ABA applications in two Vitis vinifera L. cultivars traditionally classified as near-isohydric (Grenache) and near-anisohydric (Syrah). Under water stress, Grenache exhibited stronger adjustments of plant and root hydraulic conductances and greater stomatal sensitivity to [ABA]xylemsap than Syrah resulting in greater conservation of soil moisture but not necessarily more isohydric behavior. Correlations between leaf (?leaf) and predawn (?PD) water potentials between cultivars suggested a "hydrodynamic" behavior rather than a particular iso-anisohydric classification. A significant decrease of ?leaf in well-watered ABA-fed vines supported a role of ABA in the soil-leaf hydraulic pathway to regulate g s. Correlations between leaf and root AQPs expression levels under water deficit could explain the response of leaf (K leaf) and root (Lp r) hydraulic conductances in both cultivars. Additional studies under a wider range of soil water deficits are required to explore the possible differential regulation of g s and plant hydraulics in different cultivars and experimental conditions.
Project description:To better understand the long-term impact of Ophiostoma novo-ulmi Brasier on leaf physiology in 'Dodoens', a Dutch elm disease-tolerant hybrid, measurements of leaf area, leaf dry mass, petiole anatomy, petiole hydraulic conductivity, leaf and branch water potential, and branch sap flow were performed 3 years following an initial artificial inoculation. Although fungal hyphae were detected in fully expanded leaves, neither anatomical nor morphological traits were affected, indicating that there was no impact from the fungal hyphae on the leaves during leaf expansion. In contrast, however, infected trees showed both a lower transpiration rate of branches and a lower sap flow density. The long-term persistence of fungal hyphae inside vessels decreased the xylem hydraulic conductivity, but stomatal regulation of transpiration appeared to be unaffected as the leaf water potential in both infected and non-infected trees was similarly driven by the transpirational demands. Regardless of the fungal infection, leaves with a higher leaf mass per area ratio tended to have a higher leaf area-specific conductivity. Smaller leaves had an increased number of conduits with smaller diameters and thicker cell walls. Such a pattern could increase tolerance towards hydraulic dysfunction. Measurements of water potential and theoretical xylem conductivity revealed that petiole anatomy could predict the maximal transpiration rate. Three years following fungal inoculation, phenotypic expressions for the majority of the examined traits revealed a constitutive nature for their possible role in Dutch elm disease tolerance of 'Dodoens' trees.
Project description:Elevated CO(2) and ozone effects were studied singly and in combination on the crown structure of two Betula pendula clones. Measurements were made at the end of the second fumigation period in an open-top-chamber experiment with 9-year-old trees. Shoot ramification (number of long and short daughter shoots), shoot length, and number of metamers, leaves and buds were measured at four positions in every tree. As a result of increased temperature, trees in chambers had longer shoots and more frequent shoot ramification than control trees not enclosed in chambers. Ozone treatment decreased shoot ramification significantly. Additionally, ozone treatment resulted in an increased number of metamers in one clone. There was no statistically significant interaction between ozone effect and crown position; however, there was a slight tendency for the lower crown to be more affected by ozone. Elevated CO(2) caused a significant increase in the number of long-shoot metamers. Therefore, 2x ambient CO(2) concentration partly ameliorated the negative effect of ozone because the increased number of leaves per shoot counteracted the decreased branching. Although the main effects of elevated ozone and CO(2) were similar in the two clones, slight, statistically insignificant, differences appeared in their responses when interactions with crown position were considered.
Project description:<h4>Background and aims</h4>Stomatal conductance has long been considered of key interest in the study of plant adaptation to water stress. The expected increase in extreme meteorological events under a climate change scenario may compromise survival in Eucalyptus globulus plantations established in south-western Spain. We investigated to what extent changes in stomatal conductance in response to high vapour pressure deficits and water shortage are mediated by hydraulic and chemical signals in greenhouse-grown E. globulus clones.<h4>Methods</h4>Rooted cuttings were grown in pots and submitted to two watering regimes. Stomatal conductance, shoot water potential, sap pH and hydraulic conductance were measured consecutively in each plant over 4 weeks under vapour pressure deficits ranging 0·42 to 2·25?kPa. Evapotranspiration, growth in leaf area and shoot biomass were also determined.<h4>Key results</h4>There was a significant effect of both clone and watering regime in stomatal conductance and leaf-specific hydraulic conductance, but not in sap pH. Sap pH decreased as water potential and stomatal conductance decreased under increasing vapour pressure deficit. There was no significant relationship between stomatal conductance and leaf-specific hydraulic conductance. Stomata closure precluded shoot water potential from falling below -1·8?MPa. The percentage loss of hydraulic conductance ranged from 40 to 85 %. The highest and lowest leaf-specific hydraulic conductances were measured in clones from the same half-sib families. Water shortage reduced growth and evapotranspiration, decreases in evapotranspiration ranging from 14 to 32 % in the five clones tested.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Changes in sap pH seemed to be a response to changes in atmospheric conditions rather than soil water in the species. Stomata closed after a considerable amount of hydraulic conductance was lost, although intraspecific differences in leaf-specific hydraulic conductance suggest the possibility of selection for improved productivity under water-limiting conditions combined with high temperatures in the early stages of growth.
Project description:For decades it has been assumed that the largest vessels are generally found in roots and that vessel size and corresponding sapwood area-specific hydraulic conductivity are acropetally decreasing toward the distal twigs. However, recent studies from the perhumid tropics revealed a hump-shaped vessel size distribution. Worldwide tropical perhumid forests are extensively replaced by agroforestry systems often using introduced species of various biogeographical and climatic origins. Nonetheless, it is unknown so far what kind of hydraulic architectural patterns are developed in those agroforestry tree species and which impact this exerts regarding important tree functional traits, such as stem growth, hydraulic efficiency and wood density (WD). We investigated wood anatomical and hydraulic properties of the root, stem and branch wood in Theobroma cacao and five common shade tree species in agroforestry systems on Sulawesi (Indonesia); three of these were strictly perhumid tree species, and the other three tree species are tolerating seasonal drought. The overall goal of our study was to relate these properties to stem growth and other tree functional traits such as foliar nitrogen content and sapwood to leaf area ratio. Our results confirmed a hump-shaped vessel size distribution in nearly all species. Drought-adapted species showed divergent patterns of hydraulic conductivity, vessel density, and relative vessel lumen area between root, stem and branch wood compared to wet forest species. Confirming findings from natural old-growth forests in the same region, WD showed no relationship to specific conductivity. Overall, aboveground growth performance was better predicted by specific hydraulic conductivity than by foliar traits and WD. Our study results suggest that future research on conceptual trade-offs of tree hydraulic architecture should consider biogeographical patterns underlining the importance of anatomical adaptation mechanisms to environment.
Project description:Many temperate European tree species have their southernmost distribution limits in the Mediterranean Basin. The projected climatic conditions, particularly an increase in dryness, might induce an altitudinal and latitudinal retreat at their southernmost distribution limit. Therefore, characterizing the morphological and physiological variability of temperate tree species under dry conditions is essential to understand species' responses to expected climate change. In this study, we compared branch-level hydraulic traits of four Scots pine and four sessile oak natural stands located at the western and central Mediterranean Basin to assess their adjustment to water limiting conditions. Hydraulic traits such as xylem- and leaf-specific maximum hydraulic conductivity (KS-MAX and KL-MAX), leaf-to-xylem area ratio (AL:AX) and functional xylem fraction (FX) were measured in July 2015 during a long and exceptionally dry summer. Additionally, xylem-specific native hydraulic conductivity (KS-N) and native percentage of loss of hydraulic conductivity (PLC) were measured for Scots pine. Interspecific differences in these hydraulic traits as well as intraspecific variability between sites were assessed. The influence of annual, summer and growing season site climatic aridity (P/PET) on intraspecific variability was investigated. Sessile oak displayed higher values of KS-MAX, KL-MAX, AL:AX but a smaller percentage of FX than Scots pines. Scots pine did not vary in any of the measured hydraulic traits across the sites, and PLC values were low for all sites, even during one of the warmest summers in the region. In contrast, sessile oak showed significant differences in KS-MAX, KL-MAX, and FX across sites, which were significantly related to site aridity. The striking similarity in the hydraulic traits across Scots pine sites suggests that no adjustment in hydraulic architecture was needed, likely as a consequence of a drought-avoidance strategy. In contrast, sessile oak displayed adjustments in the hydraulic architecture along an aridity gradient, pointing to a drought-tolerance strategy.