, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 695–704 | Cite as

Growth and physiological responses to ozone and mild drought stress of tree species with different ecological requirements

  • Martina Pollastrini
  • Rosanna Desotgiu
  • Chiara Cascio
  • Filippo Bussotti
  • Paolo Cherubini
  • Matthias Saurer
  • Giacomo Gerosa
  • Riccardo Marzuoli
Original Paper


An open-top chamber experiment was carried out in Curno (Northern Italy) in 2004 and 2005 on seedlings of Fagus sylvatica (FS), Quercus robur (QR), and an ozone-sensitive Populus (POP) clone, to investigate the role of two stress factors: tropospheric ozone and water shortage. Treatments were filtered air to achieve a 50% reduction in the environmental ozone concentrations (charcoal filtered, CF); and non-filtered air, with a 5% reduction in the environmental ozone concentrations (non-filtered, NF). Overall ozone exposure (AOT40) in open air (April–September) was 26,995 ppb h in 2004 and 25,166 ppb h in 2005. The plants were either watered (W) or not watered (dry, D). We investigated the above-ground biomass, tree-ring growth, stable carbon isotopes ratio, i.e. δ13C of tree rings, and the photosynthetic parameter Driving forces (DFABS), derived from chlorophyll a fluorescence analysis. Ozone-induced growth reduction (in terms of biomass) in POP, and that reduction was more pronounced in D plots. A synergistic effect of ozone and drought stress was evidenced by DFABS in POP and QR, but not in FS. The water availability was revealed as the main factor influencing the isotopic ratio δ13C. In drought-stressed seedlings, the increase in δ13C value was accompanied by the reduction in stomatal conductance and increased DFABS. Fast-growing plant species with high water requirements are more susceptible to ozone and drought stress.


Biomass Carbon isotope discrimination Chlorophyll a fluorescence Fagus sylvatica Populus clone Quercus robur Driving forces Ring width 



The open-top chamber facilities at Curno, where this work was carried out, are funded by Regione Lombardia within the programme “Effects of transboundary air pollution on vegetation within Lombardia and Canton Ticino”, in collaboration with the Regional Agency for Environment Protection (A.R.P.A.), the Lombardy Environment Foundation (F.L.A.) and the Regional Agency for Services in Agriculture and Forests (E.R.S.A.F). We would like to thank the E.R.S.A.F. personnel for their valuable assistance at the Curno nursery.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Pollastrini
    • 1
  • Rosanna Desotgiu
    • 1
  • Chiara Cascio
    • 1
  • Filippo Bussotti
    • 1
  • Paolo Cherubini
    • 2
  • Matthias Saurer
    • 3
  • Giacomo Gerosa
    • 4
    • 5
  • Riccardo Marzuoli
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Section of Environmental and Applied Botany, Department of Agricultural BiotechnologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research, WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Paul Scherrer Institute PSIVilligenSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Mathematics and PhysicsCatholic UniversityBresciaItaly
  5. 5.Fondazione Lombardia per l’AmbienteMilanItaly

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