Journal Article

Responses of secondary chemicals in sugar maple (<i>Acer saccharum</i>) seedlings to UV-B, springtime warming and nitrogen additions

E. P. S. Sager and T. C. Hutchinson

in Tree Physiology

Volume 26, issue 10, pages 1351-1361
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Responses of secondary chemicals in sugar maple (Acer saccharum) seedlings to UV-B, springtime warming and nitrogen additions

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Anticipated effects of climate change involve complex interactions in the field. To assess the effects of springtime warming, ambient ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) and nitrogen fertilization on the foliar chemistry and herbivore activity of native sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) seedlings, we carried out a field experiment for 2 years at two sugar maple forests growing on soils of contrasting acidity. At the Oliver site, soils are derived from a strongly calcareous till, whereas the naturally acidic soils and base-poor soils of the Haliburton site are derived from the largely granitic Precambrian Shield. At both sites, removal of ambient UV-B led to increases in chlorogenic acid and some flavonoids and reduced herbivore activity. At Haliburton, ammonium nitrate fertilization led to further increases in foliar manganese (Mn), whereas at Oliver there were no such changes. Nitrogen additions led to decreases in the concentrations of some flavonoids at both sites, but seedlings at Oliver had significantly higher concentrations of flavonoids and chlorogenic acid than seedlings at Haliburton. We suggest that this could be associated with increased mobilization of Mn due to increased soil acidity, which interferes with the role of calcium (Ca) in the phenolic biosynthetic pathway. It appears that the composition of the forest soil governs the response of seedlings when they are exposed to abiotic stressors.

Keywords: acid deposition; calcium; chlorogenic acid; climate change; flavonoids; herbivory; manganese; soil acidification

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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