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Contrasting stomatal sensitivity to temperature and soil drought in mature alpine conifers.

Authors
  • Peters, Richard L1, 2
  • Speich, Matthias1, 3
  • Pappas, Christoforos4, 5
  • Kahmen, Ansgar2
  • von Arx, Georg1
  • Graf Pannatier, Elisabeth1
  • Steppe, Kathy6
  • Treydte, Kerstin1
  • Stritih, Ana7
  • Fonti, Patrick1
  • 1 Forest Dynamics, Landscape Dynamics and Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry, Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, CH-8903, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 2 Department of Environmental Sciences-Botany, Basel University, Basel, CH-4056, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 3 Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, CH-8092, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 4 Département de géographie and Centre d'études nordiques, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 5 Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Prague, Czech Republic. , (Czechia)
  • 6 Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, B-9000, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 7 Institute for Landscape and Spatial Development, Planning of Landscape and Urban Systems (PLUS), ETH Zurich, Zürich, CH-8093, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Plant Cell & Environment
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
May 01, 2019
Volume
42
Issue
5
Pages
1674–1689
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/pce.13500
PMID: 30536787
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Conifers growing at high elevations need to optimize their stomatal conductance (gs ) for maximizing photosynthetic yield while minimizing water loss under less favourable thermal conditions. Yet the ability of high-elevation conifers to adjust their gs sensitivity to environmental drivers remains largely unexplored. We used 4 years of sap flow measurements to elucidate intraspecific and interspecific variability of gs in Larix decidua Mill. and Picea abies (L.) Karst along an elevational gradient and contrasting soil moisture conditions. Site- and species-specific gs response to main environmental drivers were examined, including vapour pressure deficit, air temperature, solar irradiance, and soil water potential. Our results indicate that maximum gs of L. decidua is >2 times higher, shows a more plastic response to temperature, and down-regulates gs stronger during atmospheric drought compared to P. abies. These differences allow L. decidua to exert more efficient water use, adjust to site-specific thermal conditions, and reduce water loss during drought episodes. The stronger plasticity of gs sensitivity to temperature and higher conductance of L. decidua compared to P. abies provide new insights into species-specific water use strategies, which affect species' performance and should be considered when predicting terrestrial water dynamics under future climatic change. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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