Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Filella, I., Estiarte, M., Llusià, J., Ogaya, R., Carnicer, J., Bartrons, M., Rivas-Ubach, A., Grau, O., Peguero, G., Margalef, O., Pla-Rabés, S., Stefanescu, C., Asensio, D., Preece, C., Liu, L., Verger, A., Rico, L., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino, M., Vives, M., Nadal-Sala, D., Sabaté, S., Gracia, C., Terradas, J. (2016) Assessment of the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems based on data from field experiments and long-term monitored field gradients in Catalonia. Environmental and Experimental Botany. : 0-0.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.012
Rivas-Ubach A., Barbeta A., Sardans J., Guenther A., Ogaya R., Oravec M., Urban O., Peñuelas J. (2016) Topsoil depth substantially influences the responses to drought of the foliar metabolomes of Mediterranean forests. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 21: 41-54.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.ppees.2016.06.001
The upper soil provides support, water, and nutrients to terrestrial plants and is therefore crucial for forest dynamics. We hypothesised that a tree's metabolic activity (and therefore its metabolome; the total set of metabolites) would be affected by both the depth of upper soil layers and water availability. We sampled leaves for stoichiometric and metabolomic analyses once per season from differently sized Quercus ilex trees under natural and experimental drought conditions representing the likely conditions in the coming decades). Although the metabolomes varied according to tree size, smaller trees did not show higher concentrations of biomarker metabolites related to drought stress. However, the effect of the drought treatment on the metabolomes was greatest for small trees growing in shallow soils. Our results suggest that tree size is more dependent on the depth of the upper soil, which indirectly affects a tree's metabolome, rather than on the moisture content in the upper soil. Metabolomic profiling of Q. ilex supports our finding that water availability in the upper soil is not necessarily correlated with tree size. The higher impact of drought on trees growing in shallower soils nevertheless indicates that any increase in the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought - as has been projected for the Mediterranean Basin and other areas - would affect small trees most. Metabolomics has proved to be a useful means for investigating the links between plant metabolism and environmental conditions. © 2016.
Rivas-Ubach A., Hódar J.A., Sardans J., Kyle J.E., Kim Y.-M., Oravec M., Urban O., Guenther A., Peñuelas J. (2016) Are the metabolomic responses to folivory of closely related plant species linked to macroevolutionary and plant–folivore coevolutionary processes?. Ecology and Evolution. 6: 4372-4386.EnllaçDoi: 10.1002/ece3.2206
The debate whether the coevolution of plants and insects or macroevolutionary processes (phylogeny) is the main driver determining the arsenal of molecular defensive compounds of plants remains unresolved. Attacks by herbivorous insects affect not only the composition of defensive compounds in plants but also the entire metabolome. Metabolomes are the final products of genotypes and are constrained by macroevolutionary processes, so closely related species should have similar metabolomic compositions and may respond in similar ways to attacks by folivores. We analyzed the elemental compositions and metabolomes of needles from three closely related Pinus species with distant coevolutionary histories with the caterpillar of the processionary moth respond similarly to its attack. All pines had different metabolomes and metabolic responses to herbivorous attack. The metabolomic variation among the species and the responses to folivory reflected their macroevolutionary relationships, with P. pinaster having the most divergent metabolome. The concentrations of terpenes were in the attacked trees supporting the hypothesis that herbivores avoid plant individuals with higher concentrations. Our results suggest that macroevolutionary history plays important roles in the metabolomic responses of these pine species to folivory, but plant–insect coevolution probably constrains those responses. Combinations of different evolutionary factors and trade-offs are likely responsible for the different responses of each species to folivory, which is not necessarily exclusively linked to plant–insect coevolution. © 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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