Effects of soil water availability on foliar water uptake of Araucaria angustifolia
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Background and aims
Foliar water uptake has been reported for different species, including conifers living in drought-prone environments. We conducted three experiments to determine whether leaves might absorb mist water and how this affects the water relations of well-watered and water-stressed young plants of Araucaria angustifolia.
Three independent experiments were conducted using well-watered and water-stressed plants: immersion of shoot in water for the quantification of water uptake, the short-term exposure of plants to deuterium-enriched artificial mist, followed by the evaluation of plant water status and δ2H of xylem and soil water, and the use of the heat ratio method to measure the sap flow in saplings submitted to artificial mist.
Foliar water uptake was demonstrated in both groups of plants, but only water-stressed plants showed a significant improvement of shoot water status. Isotope analyses indicated release of mist water in water-stressed plants rhizosphere’s, and measurements of sap flow pointed to flow reversals in saplings exposed to mist, after a soil drought period.
The results confirm the capacity of A. angustifolia for absorbing water deposited in its leaves and demonstrate that leaf-absorbed water can be transported through the xylem to the soil close to the roots and improve plant water status.
KeywordsBrazilian pine Drought Isotopic analyses Reverse sap flow Water relations Hydraulic redistribution
We thank Grazielle Sales Teodoro for reviewing this manuscript. This work was partially supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) (Grant no. 10/17204-0), FAPESP/Microsoft Research (Grant no. 11/52072-0), both awarded to R.S.O., the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq/Brazil) (research fellowship awarded to L.R.D. and R.S.O), and the Higher Education Co-ordination Agency (CAPES/Brazil) (scholarships awarded to F.F.C. and C.B.E.). This study is part of the Doctoral Thesis of F.F.C. was conducted at the Post-graduate School in Botany of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS/Brazil).
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