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   Location:Home > Research > Research Progress
Sympatric tree species have divergent adaptive hydraulic safety strategies
Author: Zhang Shubin
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Update time: 2017-01-17
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Vulnerability segmentation between proximal and distal organs – between the leaves, which are more vulnerable, to drought-induced cavitation, and the terminal stems – is known to act as a “safety valve” to protect hydraulic pathways from dysfunction. However, it requires further studies to determine whether vulnerability segmentation maintains the hydraulic safety of tree species differing in leaf phenology in arid ecosystems.

 Researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) investigated leaf and stem hydraulic properties as well as seasonal variations in water potential and stomatal conductance in three sympatric tree species of Anacardiaceae evergreen Pistacia weinmanniifolia, drought-deciduous Terminthia paniculata, and winter-deciduous Lannea coromandelicain a Chinese savanna. They aimed to identify the potential divergent strategies that maintain the hydraulic safety of the whole plant, and also to identify the hydraulic-related structural traits responsible for inter-species differences in hydraulic safety.

   Vulnerability segmentation was found in the evergreen P. weinmanniifolia and the winter-deciduous L. coromandelica. By sacrificing the cheaper and more vulnerable leaves, the winter-deciduous species showed a drought-avoidance strategy that maintained the hydraulic safety of the more carbon-costly stems. The evergreen species showed a hydraulic strategy of drought tolerance with strong stomatal regulation.

In contrast, the drought-deciduous T. paniculata lacked vulnerability segmentation and shed leaves at the cost of some top shoots during peak drought. In addition, the differences in leaf and stem hydraulic architecture among these species are closely related to their structural traits.

  The results implied that even sympatric tree species can exhibit divergent adaptive hydraulic safety strategies. The hydraulic properties of the three tree species have co-evolved with their structural traits.

The study entitled “Divergent Hydraulic Safety Strategies in Three Co-occurring Anacardiaceae Tree Species in a Chinese Savanna” has been published in Frontiers in Plant Science.

 

Contact

ZHANG Shubin Ph.D

Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
E-mail:
zhangshubin@xtbg.ac.cn

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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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