Journal Article

A Comparative Analysis of the Temperature Response of Leaf Elongation in <i>Bromus stamineus</i> and <i>Lolium perenne</i> Plants in the Field: Intrinsic and Size-mediated Effects

Germán D. Berone, Fernando A. Lattanzi, Marta R. Colabelli and Mónica G. Agnusdei

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 100, issue 4, pages 813-820
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm174
A Comparative Analysis of the Temperature Response of Leaf Elongation in Bromus stamineus and Lolium perenne Plants in the Field: Intrinsic and Size-mediated Effects

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Growth of grass species in temperate-humid regions is restricted by low temperatures. This study analyses the origin (intrinsic or size-mediated) and mechanisms (activity of individual meristems vs. number of active meristems) of differences between Bromus stamineus and Lolium perenne in the response of leaf elongation to moderately low temperatures.

Methods

Field experiments were conducted at Balcarce, Argentina over 2 years (2003 and 2004) using four cultivars, two of B. stamineus and two of L. perenne. Leaf elongation rate (LER) per tiller and of each growing leaf, number of growing leaves and total leaf length per tiller were measured on 15–20 tillers per cultivar, for 12 (2003) or 10 weeks (2004) during autumn and winter.

Key Results

LER was faster in B. stamineus than in L. perenne. In part, this was related to size-mediated effects, as total leaf length per tiller correlated with LER and B. stamineus tillers were 71% larger than L. perenne tillers. However, accounting for size effects revealed intrinsic differences between species in their temperature response. These were based on the number of leaf meristems simultaneously active and not on the (maximum) rate at which individual leaves elongated. Species differences were greater at higher temperatures, being barely notable below 5 °C (air temperature).

Conclusions Bromus stamineus

can sustain a higher LER per tiller than L. perenne at air temperatures > 6 °C. In the field, this effect would be compounded with time as higher elongation rates lead to greater tiller sizes.

Keywords: Bromus stamineus; Lolium perenne; temperature response; leaf elongation; tiller size; intrinsic effects; number of growing leaves; low temperature; field study

Journal Article.  4886 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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