Oecologia

, Volume 105, Issue 4, pp 552–555 | Cite as

Cold resistance mechanisms in high desert Andean plants

  • Francisco A. Squeo
  • Fermín Rada
  • Claudio García
  • Mauricio Ponce
  • Ana Rojas
  • Aura Azócar
Ecophysiology Short Communication

Abstract

Freezing tolerance and freezing avoidance were studied, during the growing season, in plant species from two different elevations (3200 m and 3700 m) in a desert region of the high Andes (29° 45′S, 69° 59′W) in order to determine whether there was a relationship between plant height and cold resistance mechanisms. Freezing injury and supercooling capacity were determined in plants of different height, from ground-level (<20 cm tall) to tall shrubs (27–90 cm). All ground-level plants showed freezing tolerance as the main mechanism for resistance to freezing temperatures. Tall shrubs avoided freezing temperatures, mainly through supercooling. Supercooling was only present in plants occupying the lower elevation (i.e., 3200 m). Both avoidance and tolerance mechanisms are present in a single genus (i.e., Adesmia).

Key words

Cold resistance mechanisms Supercooling Life forms High desert mountains Chile 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco A. Squeo
    • 1
  • Fermín Rada
    • 2
  • Claudio García
    • 1
  • Mauricio Ponce
    • 1
  • Ana Rojas
    • 1
  • Aura Azócar
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de La SerenaLa SerenaChile
  2. 2.CIELAT, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Los AndesMéridaVenezuela

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