Tree-ring carbon and oxygen isotopes indicate different water use strategies in three Mediterranean shrubs at Capo Caccia (Sardinia, Italy)
- 443 Downloads
Variations in stable carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of co-occurring plant species reflect their different water use strategies and indicate the importance of screening species’ WUE i to plan climate change adaptation strategies.
The different abilities of plant species to cope with drought have been associated with structural and ecophysiological constraints. In this paper, we evaluate interspecific differences in intrinsic water use efficiency (WUE i ) and the ratio of photosynthesis (A) to stomatal conductance (gs) in three co-occurring Mediterranean shrubs: two broad-leaved evergreen (Pistacia lentiscus and Phillyrea angustifolia) and one needle-like-leaved evergreen (Juniperus phoenicea). We used δ13C in rings to assess inter-annual changes in WUE i while the influence of the stomatal conductance was explored through δ18O. Our results indicate consistent differences in WUE i in the three species, largely determined by leaf traits and differences in stomatal conductance control. Juniperus phoenicea could be the most threatened by the current trend of increasing temperature and summers drought. Phillyrea angustifolia and P. lentiscus seem to be less affected by drought stress because of their tighter stomatal control and high survival rate under field conditions. Our study shows that shrubs with different leaf traits employ different plant ecophysiological strategies under drought stress.
KeywordsMediterranean species Tree rings Water use efficiency δ18O
This research was supported financially by the MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research) through the PRIN “CARBOTREES” project. This study is linked to activities conducted within the COST FP1106 ‘STReESS’ network. The authors thank Dr. Curtis Gautschi for the language revision.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Arena C, Vitale L, Virzo de Santo A (2008) Photosynthesis and photoprotective strategies in Laurus nobilis L. and Quercus ilex L. under summer drought and winter cold. Plant Biosyst Int J Deal Asp Plant Biol 142:472–479Google Scholar
- Battipaglia G, Saurer M, Cherubini P, Calfapietra C, McCarthy HR, Norby RJ, Cotrufo MF (2013) Elevated CO2 increases tree-level intrinsic water use efficiency: insights from carbon and oxygen isotope analyses in tree rings across three forest FACE sites. New Phytol 197:544–554CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Canadell J, Zedler PH (1995) Underground structures of woody plants in Mediterranean ecosystems of Australia, California, and Chile. In: Fox M, Kalin M, Zedler PH (eds) Ecology and biogeography of Mediterranean ecosystems in Chile, California and Australia. Verlag, Berlin, pp 177–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Correia OA, Catarino FM (1994) Seasonal changes in soil-to-leaf resistance in Cistus sp. and Pistacia lentiscus. Acta Oecol 15:289–300Google Scholar
- Kaennel M, Schweingruber FH (1995) Multilingual glossary of dendrochronology: terms and definitions in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian. Birmensdorf, BerneGoogle Scholar
- Larcher W (2000) Temperature stress and survival ability of Mediterranean sclerophyllous plants. Plant Biosyst Int J Deal Asp Plant Biol 134:279–295Google Scholar
- Levitt J (1980) Responses of plants to environmental stresses. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Palacio S, Milla RN, Montserrat-Mart G (2005) A phenological hypothesis on the thermophilous distribution of Pistacia lentiscus L. Flora—Morphology, Distribution, Functional. Ecol Plants 200:527–534Google Scholar
- Schweingruber FH (1996) Tree Rings and Environment. Dendroecology. Birmensdorf, BerneGoogle Scholar
- Tenhunen JD, Harley PC, Beyschlag W, Lange OL (1987) A model of net photosynthesis for leaves of the sclerophyll Quercus coccifera. In: Tenhunen J, Catarino F, Lange O, Oechel W (eds) Plant response to stress. NATO ASI Series, Vol. G15. Verlag, Berlin, pp 339–354Google Scholar
- Vilagrosa A (2002) Estrategias de Resistencia al Déficit Hídrico en Pistacia lentiscus L. y Quercus coccifera L. Implicaciones en la repoblacion forestal. PhD thesis. Universidad de Alicante, SpainGoogle Scholar
- Villar-Salvador P (2000) Estrategias ecolóagicas y funcionales del xilema en plantas lenósas mediterraneas. PhD thesis. Universidad de Valencia, SpainGoogle Scholar
- Werner C, Correia O (1996) Photoinhibition in cork-oak leaves under stress: influence of the bark-stripping on the chlorophyll fluorescence emission in Quercus suber L. Trees Struct Funct 10:288–292Google Scholar