Journal Article

Response to dehydration and irrigation in invasive and native saplings: osmotic adjustment versus leaf shedding

Kenichi Yazaki, Yuzou Sano, Seizo Fujikawa, Takashi Nakano and Atsushi Ishida

in Tree Physiology

Volume 30, issue 5, pages 597-607
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpq010
Response to dehydration and irrigation in invasive and native saplings: osmotic adjustment versus leaf shedding

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To clarify the mechanism underlying successful invasion by tree species into xeric sites on Japan's Bonin Islands, we compared the water use of an alien species, Psidium cattleianum, which is rapidly expanding on ridge sites with shallow soil, with that of a native species, Trema orientalis. We hypothesized that there is a trade-off between leaf shedding with low cavitation resistance (frequent xylem cavitation plus refilling ability) and leaf osmotic adjustment with high cavitation resistance (cessation of xylem cavitation plus canopy leaf retention), indicating contrasting strategies for drought tolerance and water use in semi-arid regions. We examined leaf turnover, leaf gas exchange, leaf water potential and water distribution in stem xylem conduits using cryo-scanning electron microscopy for the saplings of both species under three cycles of artificial drought and sudden pulse irrigation. Invasive P. cattleianum saplings were highly resistant to cavitation in stem xylem conduits, retained their leaves and exhibited effective leaf osmotic adjustment under the drought treatment. In contrast, native T. orientalis saplings exhibited xylem cavitation, conspicuous leaf shedding and less effective leaf osmotic adjustment under the drought treatment. Leaf gas exchange rate recovered more rapidly in P. cattleianum saplings than in T. orientalis saplings immediately following pulse irrigation after a period without irrigation, especially in the first drought cycle. Embolized conduits in T. orientalis were refilled by pulse irrigation, and leaf gas exchange rate recovered following refilling. The two tree species showed contrasting strategies for drought tolerance and water use along a trade-off axis. Cavitation avoidance and effective leaf osmotic adjustment in P. cattleianum saplings under drought conditions partially support their survival at the xeric ridge sites on the Bonin Islands. Our results help to explain the success of P. cattleianum in its invasion of a sub-arid environment.

Keywords: Bonin Islands; cavitation; cryo-SEM; water pulse

Journal Article.  6296 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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