Journal Article

An ecophysiological approach of hydraulic performance for nine Mediterranean species

Katerina Iovi, Chrysa Kolovou and Aris Kyparissis

in Tree Physiology

Volume 29, issue 7, pages 889-900
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpp032
An ecophysiological approach of hydraulic performance for nine Mediterranean species

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The existence of an efficient but also safe hydraulic system seems to be essential for plant survival under water limiting conditions. To investigate any common pattern in this safety–efficiency trade-off, static (xylem anatomy and vulnerability to xylem cavitation) and dynamic (K plant, soil to leaf hydraulic conductance and Ψleaf, leaf water potential) hydraulic properties of nine Mediterranean species belonging to four functional groups (semi-deciduous malacophyllous, sclerophylls, deciduous and herbaceous) were studied across two altitude sites. Static parameters did not show any pattern, but a strong exponential relationship between K plant and Ψleaf was evident for all the studied species. Furthermore, each species is represented by a different part and/or range of the K plant–Ψleaf relationship, indicative of its adaptive mechanisms and capacity for survival under water stress conditions. The use of K plant–Ψleaf relationship as a tool for understanding the mechanisms of plant responses to water stress is discussed.

Keywords: embolism; soil to leaf hydraulic conductance; vulnerability curves; water potential; water stress; xylem anatomy

Journal Article.  7178 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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