Journal Article

Intraspecific variation in the magnitude and pattern of flooding-induced shoot elongation in <i>Rumex palustris</i>

Xin Chen, Heidrun Huber, Hans de Kroon, Anton J. M. Peeters, Hendrik Poorter, Laurentius A. C. J. Voesenek and Eric J. W. Visser

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 104, issue 6, pages 1057-1067
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp198
Intraspecific variation in the magnitude and pattern of flooding-induced shoot elongation in Rumex palustris

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

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Background and Aims

Intraspecific variation in flooding tolerance is the basic pre-condition for adaptive flooding tolerance to evolve, and flooding-induced shoot elongation is an important trait that enables plants to survive shallow, prolonged flooding. Here an investigation was conducted to determine to what extent variation in flooding-induced leaf elongation exists among and within populations of the wetland species Rumex palustris, and whether the magnitude of elongation can be linked to habitat characteristics.

Methods

Offspring of eight genotypes collected in each of 12 populations from different sites (ranging from river mudflats with dynamic flooding regimes to areas with stagnant water) were submerged, and petioles, laminas and roots were harvested separately to measure traits related to elongation and plant growth.

Key Results

We found strong elongation of petioles upon submergence, and both among- and within-population variation in this trait, not only in final length, but also in the timing of the elongation response. However, the variation in elongation responses could not be linked to habitat type.

Conclusions

Spatio-temporal variation in the duration and depth of flooding in combination with a presumably weak selection against flooding-induced elongation may have contributed to the maintenance of large genetic variation in flooding-related traits among and within populations.

Keywords: Flooding tolerance; intraspecific variation; shoot elongation; lamina elongation; petiole elongation; population differentiation; Rumex palustris; submergence

Journal Article.  7071 words.  Illustrated.

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

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