Plant and Soil

, Volume 384, Issue 1–2, pp 93–112 | Cite as

Modelling the impact of heterogeneous rootzone water distribution on the regulation of transpiration by hormone transport and/or hydraulic pressures

  • Katrin Huber
  • Jan Vanderborght
  • Mathieu Javaux
  • Natalie Schröder
  • Ian C. Dodd
  • Harry Vereecken
Regular Article



A simulation model to demonstrate that soil water potential can regulate transpiration, by influencing leaf water potential and/or inducing root production of chemical signals that are transported to the leaves.


Signalling impacts on the relationship between soil water potential and transpiration were simulated by coupling a 3D model for water flow in soil, into and through roots (Javaux et al. 2008) with a model for xylem transport of chemicals (produced as a function of local root water potential). Stomatal conductance was regulated by simulated leaf water potential (H) and/or foliar chemical signal concentrations (C; H + C). Split-root experiments were simulated by varying transpiration demands and irrigation placement.


While regulation of stomatal conductance by chemical transport was unstable and oscillatory, simulated transpiration over time and root water uptake from the two soil compartments were similar for both H and H + C regulation. Increased stomatal sensitivity more strongly decreased transpiration, and decreased threshold root water potential (below which a chemical signal is produced) delayed transpiration reduction.


Although simulations with H + C regulation qualitatively reproduced transpiration of plants exposed to partial rootzone drying (PRD), long-term effects seemed negligible. Moreover, most transpiration responses to PRD could be explained by hydraulic signalling alone.


Soil-root modelling R-SWMS Hormonal signalling Stomatal conductance Partial rootzone drying 



This work is a contribution of the Transregio Collaborative Research Centre 32. Patterns in Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere Systems: Monitoring, Modelling and Data Assimilation, which is funded by the German research association, DFG. ICD thanks the EU project SIRRIMED (FP7- KBBE-2009-3-245159) for continued support of work on PRD.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrin Huber
    • 1
  • Jan Vanderborght
    • 1
  • Mathieu Javaux
    • 1
    • 2
  • Natalie Schröder
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ian C. Dodd
    • 4
  • Harry Vereecken
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Agrosphere (IBG 3)Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany
  2. 2.Earth and Life InstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Hydromechanics and Modelling of HydrosystemsUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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