Foliar plasticity related to gradients of heat and drought stress across crown orientations in three Mediterranean Quercus species

Autoři: Sonia Mediavilla aff001;  Ignacio Martín aff002;  Josefa Babiano aff002;  Alfonso Escudero aff001
Působiště autorů: Área de Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, Salamanca, Spain aff001;  Dpto. de Botánica y Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, Salamanca, Spain aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224462


Studies on plasticity at the level of a single individual plant provide indispensable information to predict leaf responses to climate change, because they allow better identification of the environmental factors that determine differences in leaf traits in the absence of genetic differences. Most of these studies have focused on the responses of leaf traits to variations in the light environment along vertical gradients, thus paying less attention to possible differences in the intensity of water stress among canopy orientations. In this paper, we analyzed the differences in leaf traits traditionally associated with changes in the intensity of water stress between east and west crown orientations in three Quercus species. The leaves facing west experienced similar solar radiation levels but higher maximum temperatures and lower daily minimum water potentials than those of the east orientation. In response to these differences, the leaves of the west orientation showed smaller size and less chlorophyll concentration, higher percentage of palisade tissue and higher density of stomata and trichomes. These responses would confirm the role of such traits in the tolerance to water stress and control of water losses by transpiration. For all traits, the species with the longest leaf life span exhibited the greatest plasticity between orientations. By contrast, no differences between canopy positions were observed for leaf thickness, leaf mass per unit area and venation patterns.

Klíčová slova:

Density – Chlorophyll – Leaves – Photosynthesis – Stomata – Trees – Trichomes – Leaf veins


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