Diurnal and seasonal variations in the photosynthetic performance and water relations of two co-occurring Mediterranean shrubs, Erica multiflora and Globularia alypum

Llorens L., Peñuelas J., Filella I. (2003) Diurnal and seasonal variations in the photosynthetic performance and water relations of two co-occurring Mediterranean shrubs, Erica multiflora and Globularia alypum. Physiologia Plantarum. 118: 84-95.
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Doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3054.2003.00101.x

Resum:

Diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in the photosynthetic performance and water relations of two co-occurring Mediterranean shrubs, Erica multiflora and Globularia alypum were monitored throughout two consecutive years at Garraf Natural Park in north-east Spain. Leaf gas exchange rates, chlorophyll fluorescence and shoot water potentials were measured once each season. Leaf nitrogen and carbon concentrations, leaf δ13C and δ15N and specific leaf area (SLA) were also measured once a year (August) on well developed mature leaves. Globularia alypum experienced seasonal fluctuations in their water potential, with the lowest values recorded in summer, whereas E. multiflora did not show significant differences in water potential among seasons. Moreover, lower water potentials were found in G. alypum than in E. multiflora throughout the entire study, suggesting that the latter behaved as a drought-avoiding species, whereas the former tolerated lower water potentials. In both species, maximum leaf gas exchange rates were observed in autumn and secondarily in spring; in contrast, photosynthetic and transpiration rates reached absolute minima in summer. The stronger fluctuations in water potential and leaf gas exchange rates found in G. alypum compared to E. multiflora, suggest that G. alypum is, sensu Levitt (1980), a water spender, whereas E. multiflora is a water conservative. This hypothesis is further supported by a higher integrated water-use efficiency (higher δ13C values) and a higher degree of sclerophylly (lower SLA) in E. multiflora in comparison with G. alypum. Globularia alypum showed higher leaf gas exchange rates and higher predawn potential photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) than E. multiflora during most of the study. In spring and autumn, predawn Fv/Fm values were within the optimal range, whereas chronic photoinhibition in summer and winter was detected in both species. However, whereas both species could maintain positive photosynthetic rates in winter, frequent negative values were found in summer, suggesting higher levels of stress during the drought period. These results together with the high correlations that were found between the net photosynthetic rates and several parameters of water availability (accumulated rainfall, soil moisture or midday water potential) provided further evidence of the key role of water availability in the regulation of the photosynthetic rates in these Mediterranean species. Warmer and drier conditions in future decades, as a consequence of climate change, may alter the present, slight competitive advantage of G. alypum and the fitness of both shrub species within semi-arid Mediterranean environments.

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Efectos del cambio climático (sequía y calentamiento) en los procesos del suelo de ecosistemas arbustivos.

Estiarte M, Peñuelas J, Llorens L, Rodà F, Prieto P, Bruna P, Beier C, Schmidt I, Nielsen T, Emmet B, Sowerby A, Tietema A, Gorissen A, Filella I, Llusià J, Lloret F, Terradas J (2003) Efectos del cambio climático (sequía y calentamiento) en los procesos del suelo de ecosistemas arbustivos. In VII Congreso Nacional de la Asociación Española de Ecología Terrestre. AEET-CREAF. Soft Congres, Barcelona, pp. 835-857.

Efectes del canvi climàtic (eixut i escalfament) en una brolla del Garraf: resultats dels projectes Climoor i Vulcan.

Estiarte M, Peñuelas J, Llorens L, Bruna P, Prieto P, Filella I, Llusià J, Lloret F, Rodà F (2003) Efectes del canvi climàtic (eixut i escalfament) en una brolla del Garraf: resultats dels projectes Climoor i Vulcan. In IV Trobada d'Estudiosos del Garraf. Diputació de Barcelona, Barcelona, pp. 65-74.

Espècies prop de l'extinció.

Riba M (2003) Espècies prop de l'extinció. In Avila A, Terradas J (eds) Aula d'Ecologia. Cicle de conferències 2002. Servei de Publicacions, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, pp. 35-40.

Photo- and antioxidative protection during summer leaf senescence in Pistacia lentiscus L. grown under mediterranean field conditions

Munné-Bosch S., Peñuelas J. (2003) Photo- and antioxidative protection during summer leaf senescence in Pistacia lentiscus L. grown under mediterranean field conditions. Annals of Botany. 92: 385-391.
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Doi: 10.1093/aob/mcg152

Resum:

Summer leaf senescence in Pistacia lentiscus L. plants serves to remobilize nutrients from the oldest leaves to the youngest ones, and therefore contributes to plant survival during the adverse climatic conditions typical of Mediterranean summers, i.e. water deficit superimposed on high solar radiation and high temperatures. To evaluate the extent of photo- and antioxidative protection during leaf senescence of this species, changes in carotenoids, including xanthophyll cycle pigments, and in the levels of ascorbate and α-tocopherol were measured prior to and during summer leaf senescence in 3-year-old plants grown under Mediterranean field conditions. Although a chlorophyll loss of approx. 20 % was observed during the first stages of leaf senescence, no damage to the photosynthetic apparatus occurred as indicated by constant maximum efficiencies of photosystem II photochemistry. During this period the de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle, and lutein, neoxanthin and ascorbate levels were kept constant. At the same time β-carotene and α-tocopherol levels increased by approx. 9 and 70 %, respectively, presumably conferring photo- and antioxidative protection to the photosynthetic apparatus. By contrast, during the later stages of leaf senescence, characterized by severe chlorophyll loss, carotenoids were moderately degraded (neoxanthin by approx. 20 %, and both lutein and β-carotene by approx. 35 %), ascorbate decreased by approx. 80 % and α-tocopherol was not detected in senescing leaves. This study demonstrates that mechanisms of photo- and antioxidative protection may play a major role in maintaining chloroplast function during the first stages of leaf senescence, while antioxidant defences are lost during the latest stages of senescence. © 2003 Annals of Botany Company.

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Comparative field study of Quercus ilex and Phillyrea latifolia: Photosynthetic response to experimental drought conditions

Ogaya R., Peñuelas J. (2003) Comparative field study of Quercus ilex and Phillyrea latifolia: Photosynthetic response to experimental drought conditions. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 50: 137-148.
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Doi: 10.1016/S0098-8472(03)00019-4

Resum:

Quercus ilex and Phillyrea latifolia growing in a holm oak forest in Prades mountains (NE Spain) were subjected to experimental drought conditions. Soil water availability was reduced about 15% by plastic strips and funnels that partially excluded rain throughfall and by ditch exclusion of water runoff. Diurnal courses of maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm), apparent photosynthetic electron transport rate (ETR), net photosynthetic rate (A), transpiration rate (E) and water use efficiency (WUE) were measured in sunlit and shade leaves of both species during 2 years. Moreover, the responses of photosynthetic rates to PPFD and CO 2 concentrations were also measured. Q. ilex experienced lower E rates and higher A rates and WUE than P. latifolia throughout the experimental period, but during summer drought these differences disappeared. Q. ilex exhibited a less cold sensitive behavior whereas P. latifolia showed a more heat-drought resistant behavior. Under severe summer drought conditions none of the two species was able to reach a positive carbon gain. Drought treatment produced a slight decrease in Fv/Fm values of Q. ilex plants and a strong decrease in Fv/Fm values of P. latifolia only in winter 2000, when drought stress coincided with cold stress. Drought treatment produced also a slight decrease in ETR values of both species. During midday, A and E rates decreased in drought plots in both species associated to lower photochemical efficiencies. In those drought plots, only P. latifolia was able to increase WUE by reducing transpiration losses during midday. Both species tended to present higher A rates for a given soil humidity in drought than in control plots. However, whereas Q. ilex A rates increased with soil humidity, P. latifolia A rates did not increase above 17% soil humidity, showing no water availability response above such threshold. It is very likely that mesic species such as Q. ilex lose competitive advantage in the drier environment forecasted for next decades than the more xeric P. latifolia. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Comparative seasonal gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence of two dominant woody species in a Holm Oak Forest

Ogaya R., Peñuelas J. (2003) Comparative seasonal gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence of two dominant woody species in a Holm Oak Forest. Flora. 198: 132-141.
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Doi: 10.1078/0367-2530-00085

Resum:

Diurnal courses of net CO2 uptake rate, stomatal conductance (gS), maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm) and apparent photosynthetic electron transport rate (ETR) were measured in Quercus ilex and Phillyrea latifolia in a holm oak forest throughout the seasons of the year. These measurements were complemented with response curves of photosynthetic rates to PPFD and CO2 concentrations. P. latifolia was better adapted to drought and warm conditions and showed higher net CO2 uptake, gS and Fv/Fm values than Q. ilex in summer. But in autumn and specially in winter P. latifolia was more sensitive to low temperatures and experienced lower net CO2 uptake, gS, ETR and Fv/Fm values than Q. ilex. The maximum net CO2 uptake values for P. latifolia occurred under summer high temperatures whereas maximum net CO2 uptake values for Q. ilex occurred under winter low temperatures. However, in summer during midday, both species presented null or slightly negative net CO2 uptake rates. Since in the summer season both species experienced similar ETR values, the lower net CO2 uptake values of Q. ilex suggest that Q. ilex presented greater photorespiration rates. During winter, very low Fv/Fm values were found especially for P. latifolia, indicating that maximal photochemical efficiency of PSII is very sensitive to low temperatures. However, they were not accompanied by low net CO2 uptake rates showing that cold photoinhibition determined a potential but not an actual decrease in photosynthetic performance. Under well watered conditions and with high CO2 concentration and saturated PPFD, Q. ilex was able to increase its photosynthetic rates whereas P. latifolia had lower plasticity to make a profit of optimal environmental conditions. These results show different strategies between these two dominant co-occurring species. They also indicate that the warmer and drier conditions expected for the Mediterranean region in the near decades as a result of climate change will favour drought resistant species with lower photosynthetic rates such as P. latifolia in detriment of more mesic species such as Q. ilex.

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Effect of drought on diameter increment of Quercus ilex, Phillyrea latifolia, and Arbutus unedo in a holm oak forest of NE Spain

Ogaya R., Peñuelas J., Martínez-Vilalta J., Mangirón M. (2003) Effect of drought on diameter increment of Quercus ilex, Phillyrea latifolia, and Arbutus unedo in a holm oak forest of NE Spain. Forest Ecology and Management. 180: 175-184.
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Doi: 10.1016/S0378-1127(02)00598-4

Resum:

The present study was carried out to elucidate the drought growth responses of Quercus ilex L., Phillyrea latifolia L., Arbutus unedo L., and other accompanying woody species of the Mediterranean holm oak forest. We submitted holm oak forest stands in Prades mountains (NE Spain) to a 2-year experimental drought. We reduced soil water availability about 15% by plastic strips and funnels that partially excluded rain throughfall and by ditch interception of water runoff. Mean stem diameter increment showed a great variation depending on the species. A. unedo had larger growth rates than Q. ilex and P. latifolia, but it was also the species that experimented the highest growth reduction in the drought plots (77%), suggesting a higher drought sensitivity than Q. ilex (55%) and P. latifolia (no drought effect). The growth reduction was specially marked in the larger trees. Aboveground stand biomass increment, estimated from stem diameter by allometric relationships, was 1.9 Mg ha-1 per year in the control plots. The 15% reduction in the upper soil moisture produced 42% reduction in this biomass increment. In the drier conditions predicted in this Mediterranean area in the frame of climate change, an important reduction of growth rates can be hence expected, accompanied by a gain of dominance of drought-tolerant species such as P. latifolia in detriment of more mesic species such as Q. ilex. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Runoff and losses by erosion in soils amended with sewage sludge

Ojeda G., Alcaniz J.M., Ortiz O. (2003) Runoff and losses by erosion in soils amended with sewage sludge. Land Degradation and Development. 14: 563-573.
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Doi: 10.1002/ldr.580

Resum:

In order to promote the transformation of a burnt Mediterranean forest area into a dehesa system, 10 t ha-1 of dry matter of the same sewage sludge in three different forms: fresh, composted and thermally-dried, were added superficially to field plots of loam and sandy soils located on a 16 per cent slope. This application is equivalent to 13·8 t ha-1 of composted sludge, 50 t ha-1 of fresh sludge and 11·3 t ha-1 of thermally-dried sludge. The surface addition of a single application of thermally-dried sludge resulted in a decrease in runoff and erosion in both kinds of soil. Runoff in thermally-dried sludge plots was lower than in the control treatment (32 per cent for the loam soil and 26 per cent for the sandy soil). The addition of any type of sludge to both soil types also reduces sediment production. Significant differences between the control and sludge treatments indicate that the rapid development of plant cover and the direct protective effect of sludge on the soil are the main agents that influence soil erosion rates. Results suggest that the surface application of thermally-dried sludge is the most efficient way to enhance soil infiltration. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

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Hydraulic properties of Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinea and Tetraclinis articulata in a dune ecosystem of Eastern Spain

Oliveras I., Martínez-Vilalta J., Jimenez-Ortiz T., Lledó M.J., Escarré A., Piñol J. (2003) Hydraulic properties of Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinea and Tetraclinis articulata in a dune ecosystem of Eastern Spain. Plant Ecology. 169: 131-141.
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Doi: 10.1023/A:1026223516580

Resum:

The hydraulic properties of Pinus pinea, Pinus halepensis and Tetraclinis articulata were studied in a coastal dune area from Eastern Spain. The measured variables include vulnerability to xylem embolism (vulnerability curves), hydraulic conductivity and carbon isotopic discrimination in leaves. Leaf water potentials were also monitored in the three studied populations during an extremely dry period. Our results showed that roots had always wider vessels and higher hydraulic conductivity than branches. Roots were also more vulnerable to xylem embolism and operated closer to their hydraulic limit (i.e., with narrower safety margins). Although it was not quantified, extensive root mortality was observed in the two pines during the study period, in agreement with the high values of xylem embolism (> 75%) predicted from vulnerability curves and the water potentials measured in the field. T. articulata was much more resistant to embolism than P. pinea and P. halepensis. Since T. articulata experienced also lower water potentials, safety margins from hydraulic failure were only slightly wider in this species than in the pines. Combining species and tissues, high resistance to xylem embolism was associated with low hydraulic conductivity and with high wood density. Both relationships imply a cost of having a resistant xylem. The study outlined very different water-use strategies for T. articulata and the pines. Whereas T. articulata had a conservative strategy that relied on the low vulnerability of its conducting system to drought-induced xylem embolism, the two pines showed regulatory mechanisms at different levels (i.e., embolism, root demography) that constrained the absorption of water when it became scarce.

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