, Volume 168, Issue 1, pp 1–10

Leaf hydraulic vulnerability influences species’ bioclimatic limits in a diverse group of woody angiosperms

  • Chris J. Blackman
  • Tim J. Brodribb
  • Gregory J. Jordan
Physiological ecology - Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2064-3

Cite this article as:
Blackman, C.J., Brodribb, T.J. & Jordan, G.J. Oecologia (2012) 168: 1. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2064-3


The ability of plants to maintain water flow through leaves under water stress-induced tension (assessed as the leaf hydraulic vulnerability; P50leaf) is intimately linked with survival. We examined the significance of P50leaf as an adaptive trait in influencing the dry-end distributional limits of cool temperate woody angiosperm species. We also examined differences in within-site variability in P50leaf between two high-rainfall montane rainforest sites in Tasmania and Peru, respectively. A significant relationship between P50leaf and the 5th percentile of mean annual rainfall across each species distribution was found in Tasmania, suggesting that P50leaf influences species climatic limits. Furthermore, a strong correlation between P50leaf and the minimum rainfall availability was found using five phylogenetically independent species pairs in wet and dry evergreen tree species, suggesting that rainfall is an important selective agent in the evolution of leaf hydraulic vulnerability. Greater within-site variability in P50leaf was found among dominant montane rainforest species in Tasmania than in Peru and this result is discussed within the context of differences in spatial and temporal environmental heterogeneity and parochial historical ecology.


AdaptationFunctional traitsHydraulic dysfunctionWater stressAngiosperms

Supplementary material

442_2011_2064_MOESM1_ESM.doc (142 kb)
Online Resource 1. Ancestral habitat affinity for the Tasmanian species and the 5th and 95th percentile of mean annual rainfall across each Tasmanian species’ distribution (DOC 141 kb)
442_2011_2064_MOESM2_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Online Resource 2. Phylogeny of the plant species sampled from Tasmania and Peru (DOC 61 kb)
442_2011_2064_MOESM3_ESM.doc (764 kb)
Online Resource 3. Remaining vulnerability curves for the Peruvian montane rainforest species (DOC 764 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris J. Blackman
    • 1
  • Tim J. Brodribb
    • 1
  • Gregory J. Jordan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Plant ScienceUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia