Journal Article

Shoot and root vulnerability to xylem cavitation in four populations of Douglas-fir seedlings

K. L. Kavanagh, B. J. Bond, S. N. Aitken, B. L. Gartner and S. Knowe

in Tree Physiology

Volume 19, issue 1, pages 31-37
Published in print January 1999 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online January 1999 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Shoot and root vulnerability to xylem cavitation in four populations of Douglas-fir seedlings

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The objectives of this study were to assess the range of genotypic variation in the vulnerability of the shoot and root xylem of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings to water-stress-induced cavitation, and to assess the trade-off between vulnerability to cavitation and conductivity per unit of stem cross-sectional area (ks), both within a species and within an individual tree. Douglas-fir occupies a broad range of environments and exhibits considerable genetic variation for growth, morphology, and drought hardiness. We chose two populations from each of two varieties (the coastal var. menziesii and the interior var. glauca) to represent environmental extremes of the species. Vulnerability curves were constructed for shoots and roots by plotting the percentage loss in conductivity versus water potential. Vulnerability in shoot and root xylem varied genetically with source climate. Stem xylem differed in vulnerability to cavitation between populations; the most mesic population, coastal wet (CW), was the most susceptible of the four populations. In the roots, the most vulnerable population was again CW; the interior wet (IW) population was moderately susceptible compared with the two dry populations, coastal dry (CD) and interior dry (ID). Root xylem was more susceptible to cavitation than stem xylem and had significantly greater ks. The trade-off between vulnerability to cavitation and ks, however, was not evident across populations. The most vulnerable population (CW) had a shoot ks of 0.534 ± 0.067 μmol m−2 s−1 MPa−1, compared with 0.734 ± 0.067 μmol m−2 s−1 MPa−1 for the less vulnerable CD stems. In the roots, IW was more vulnerable than ID, but had the same ks.

Keywords: conductivity; cross-sectional area; mesic versus xeric environments; stomata

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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