, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 749–759 | Cite as

Photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and terpene emission response to water availability in dry and mesic Mediterranean forests

  • Joan Llusia
  • Shani Roahtyn
  • Dan Yakir
  • Eyal Rotenberg
  • Roger Seco
  • Alex Guenther
  • Josep Peñuelas
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Drought Stress


Key message

Warmer summer conditions result in increased terpene emissions except under severe drought, in which case they strongly decrease.


Water stress results in a reduction of the metabolism of plants and in a reorganization of their use of resources geared to survival. In the Mediterranean region, periods of drought accompanied by high temperatures and high irradiance occur in summer. Plants have developed various mechanisms to survive in these conditions by resisting, tolerating or preventing stress. We used three typical Mediterranean tree species in Israel, Pinus halepensis L., Quercus calliprinos and Quercus ithaburensis Webb, as models for studying some of these adaptive mechanisms. We measured their photosynthetic rates (A), stomatal conductance (g s), and terpene emission rates during spring and summer in a geophysical gradient from extremely dry to mesic from Yatir (south, arid) to Birya (north, moist) with intermediate conditions in Solelim. A and g s of P. halepensis were threefold higher in Birya than in Yatir where they remained very low both seasons. Quercus species presented 2–3-fold higher A and g s but with much more variability between seasons, especially for Q. ithaburensis with A and g s that decreased 10–30-fold from spring to summer. Terpene emission rates for pine were not different regionally in spring but they were 5–8-fold higher in Birya than in Yatir in summer (P < 0.05). Higher emissions were also observed in Solelim for the drought resistant Q. ithaburensis (P < 0.001) but not for Q. calliprinos. α-Pinene followed by limonene and 3-carene were the dominant terpenes. Warmer summer conditions result in increased Terpene emission rates except under severe drought, in which case they strongly decrease.


Mediterranean drought conditions Terpene emission rates Gas interchange Pinus halepensis Quercus calliprinos Quercus ithaburensis 



This study was supported by the Spanish Government Grant CGL2013-48074-P, the Catalan Government grant SGR 2014-274, the European Research Council Synergy grant ERC-2013-SyG 610028 IMBALANCE-P, and the Air Liquide Foundation AirLiCOVs grant. Roger Seco was partially supported by a postdoctoral grant awarded by Fundación Ramón Areces. This work was supported by the Cathy Wills and Robert Lewis Program in Environmental Science, the KKL-JNF, and the Sussman Center of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Llusia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shani Roahtyn
    • 3
  • Dan Yakir
    • 3
  • Eyal Rotenberg
    • 3
  • Roger Seco
    • 4
  • Alex Guenther
    • 5
    • 6
  • Josep Peñuelas
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CREAFBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.CSIC, Global Ecology Unit CREAF-CSIC-UABBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Depatment of Earth and Planetary SciencesWeizmann Instiute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  4. 4.Department of Earth System ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  5. 5.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryAtmospheric Sciences and Global Change DivisionRichlandUSA
  6. 6.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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