Journal Article

Geographical variation in water relations, hydraulic architecture and terpene composition of Aleppo pine seedlings from Italian provinces

Roberto Tognetti, Marco Michelozzi and Alessio Giovannelli

in Tree Physiology

Volume 17, issue 4, pages 241-250
Published in print April 1997 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online April 1997 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/17.4.241
Geographical variation in water relations, hydraulic architecture and terpene composition of Aleppo pine seedlings from Italian provinces

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Ecotypic variations in leaf conductance, soil-to-leaf hydraulic conductance, components of tissue water potential, hydraulic architecture parameters and xylem embolism were examined in greenhouse-grown two-year-old Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) seedlings from six origins representing the geographic range of the species in Italy. Cortical resin composition of the seedlings was also determined. Measurements were made on well-watered seedlings and on seedlings subjected to recurring severe drought. Drought-stressed seedlings had lower mean leaf conductances, transpiration rates and soil-to-leaf hydraulic conductances than well-watered seedlings. They also exhibited more negative osmotic potentials, higher relative water deficit at incipient plasmolysis, but a similar maximum modulus of elasticity. Drought-stressed seedlings showed a higher degree of xylem embolism, a lower Huber value, lower leaf specific conductivity and lower specific conductivity than well-watered seedlings.

Drought-stressed seedlings of provenances from more xeric habitats (Tremiti, Porto Pino and Mottola) had greater leaf conductances, transpiration rates and soil-to-leaf hydraulic conductances than drought-stressed seedlings of provenances from more mesic habitats (Imperia, Otricoli and Vico del Gargano). They also showed higher osmotic adjustment and a lower degree of xylem embolism. Among provenances, there were no significant differences in hydraulic architecture parameters in response to the drought treatment; however, Tremiti and Porto Pino seedlings displayed smaller drought-induced reductions in specific conductivity and leaf specific conductivity, respectively, than seedlings from other provenances. These differences suggest that seedlings from xeric provenances, especially Tremiti, have greater resistance to desiccation than seedlings from mesic provenances. No clear association was found between terpene variability and the other traits investigated, although terpene composition was related to the geographical distribution of the provenances. We conclude that the drought-tolerance responses of Tremiti make it a more suitable provenance than the others for establishment on sites prone to severe soil water deficits.

Keywords: drought; ecotypic variation; embolism; monoterpene

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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