Journal Article

Effects of soil and stem base heating on survival, resprouting and gas exchange of <i>Acer</i> and <i>Quercus</i> seedlings

Julie A. Huddle and Stephen G. Pallardy

in Tree Physiology

Volume 16, issue 6, pages 583-589
Published in print June 1996 | ISSN: 0829-318X
e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Effects of soil and stem base heating on survival, resprouting and gas exchange of Acer and Quercus seedlings

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Acer rubrum L., A. saccharum Marsh., Quercus alba L. and Q. rubra L. seedlings subjected to soil and stem base heat treatments showed rapid declines in rates of transpiration and photosynthesis. Reductions in photosynthetic rate were partly attributable to mesophyll inhibition. Quercus seedlings were less able to maintain transpiration and photosynthesis after heat treatment than Acer seedlings. Declines in rates of transpiration and photosynthesis of Quercus seedlings were observed 1 h after heat treatment and became more pronounced over time. In contrast, rates of transpiration and photosynthesis of Acer seedlings initially declined in response to heat treatment, partially recovered after one or two days, but then declined again six to eight days after the heat treatment. Observed changes in leaf water potential after heating were small, suggesting that hydraulic factors were not the primary signal eliciting the gas exchange response to soil and stem heating.

Ultimately, the heat treatments caused stem die-back of most seedlings. For all species, seedlings that resprouted had a greater chance of surviving heat stress than seedlings that did not resprout. Despite the rapid loss of photosynthetic capacity in response to heat treatment in Quercus seedlings, survival was higher in Quercus seedlings than in Acer seedlings, and was associated with a greater capacity for resprouting. We suggest that the reduced allocation of resources toward recovery of photosynthesis in existing Quercus stems after heat stress is a physiological mechanism that facilitates resprouting and hence survival of Quercus seedlings after fire.

Keywords: Acer saccharum; Acer rubrum; fire; photosynthesis; Quercus alba; Quercus rubra; resprouting; survival; thermotolerance; transpiration

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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