Journal Article

Seasonal embolism and xylem vulnerability in deciduous and evergreen Mediterranean trees influenced by proximity to a carbon dioxide spring

Roberto Tognetti, Anna Longobucco and Antonio Raschi

in Tree Physiology

Volume 19, issue 4-5, pages 271-277
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/19.4-5.271
Seasonal embolism and xylem vulnerability in deciduous and evergreen Mediterranean trees influenced by proximity to a carbon dioxide spring

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We investigated how proximity to natural CO2 springs affected the seasonal patterns of xylem embolism in Quercus ilex L., Quercus pubescens Willd., Fraxinus ornus L., Populus tremula L. and Arbutus unedo L., which differ in leaf phenology and wood anatomy. Xylem embolism was evaluated in both artificially dehydrated branches and in hydrated apical branches collected at monthly intervals during a 20-month sampling period. Initial specific hydraulic conductivity was also evaluated. We found species-dependent differences in xylem hydraulic properties in response to elevated CO2 concentration. Populus tremula was the most embolized and A. unedo was the least embolized of the species examined. Effects of elevated CO2 were significant in Q. pubescens, P. tremula and A. unedo, whereas the overall response to elevated CO2 was less evident in F. ornus and Q. ilex. Specific hydraulic conductivity differed among species but not between sites, although the interaction between species and site was significant. Differences in xylem vulnerability between trees growing near to the CO2 spring and those growing in control areas were small. Although differences in hydraulic properties in response to elevated CO2 concentration were small, they may be of great importance in determining future community composition in Mediterranean-type forest ecosystems. The possible causes and ecological significance of such differences are discussed in relation to elevated CO2 concentration and other environmental conditions.

Keywords: cavitation; CO2 springs; diffuse-porous; global change; hydraulic conductivity; Mediterranean-type ecosystems; ring-porous; semiring-porous

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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