Advertisement

Seasonal variations of leaf traits and drought adaptation strategies of four common woody species in South Texas, USA

  • Juan Qin
  • Zhouping Shangguan
  • Weimin Xi
Original Paper
  • 84 Downloads

Abstract

Understanding physiological responses and drought adaptation strategies of woody plant leaf traits in sub-humid to semi-arid regions is of vital importance to understand the interplay between ecological processes and plant resource-allocation strategies of different tree species. Seasonal variations of leaf morphological traits, stoichiometric traits and their relationships of two drought tolerant woody species, live oak (Quercus virginiana) and honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and two less drought tolerant species, sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) and white ash (Fraxinus americana) were analyzed in a sub-humid to semi-arid area of south Texas, USA. Our findings demonstrate that for the two drought tolerant species, the leguminous P. glandulosa had the highest specific leaf area, leaf N, P, and lowest leaf area and dry mass, indicating that P. glandulosa adapts to an arid habitat by decreasing leaf area, thus reducing water loss, reflecting a resource acquisition strategy. While the evergreen species Q. virginiana exhibited higher leaf dry mass, leaf dry matter content, C content, C:N, C:P and N:P ratios, adapts to an arid habitat through increased leaf thickness and thus reduced water loss, reflecting a resource conservation strategy in south Texas. For the two less drought tolerant deciduous species, the variations of leaf traits in C. laevigata and F. americana varied between Q. virginiana and P. glandulosa, reflecting a trade-off between rapid plant growth and nutrient maintenance in a semi-arid environment.

Keywords

Drought adaptation strategies Leaf traits Seasonal variations South Texas Woody species 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the staff of the Department of Biological and Health Sciences, Texas A&M University-Kingsville for their help during leaf collection. We also would like to thank Dr. Enrique Massa and Ms. Shawnda Kumro who provided logistic help.

References

  1. Ågren GI (2008) Stoichiometry and nutrition of plant growth in natural communities. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 39:153–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ali AM, Darvishzadeh R, Skidmore AK, Duren IV, Heiden U, Heurich M (2016) Estimating leaf functional traits by inversion of PROSPECT: assessing leaf dry matter content and specific leaf area in mixed mountainous forest. Int J Appl Earth Obs 45:66–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ansley RJ, Jacoby PW, Cuomo GJ (1990) Water relations of honey mesquite following severing of lateral roots: influence of location of subsurface water. J Range Manag 43:436–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boege K (2005) Herbivore attack in Casearia nitida influenced by plant ontogenetic variation in foliage quality and plant architecture. Oecologia 143:117–125CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Burak S, Hamdi GK, Abdullah Ç, Hakan Y (2016) Comparison of leaf traits (SLA and LMA) on different populations of Alcea apterocarpa. J Biol Chem 44:125–131Google Scholar
  6. Casper BB, Forseth IN, Kempenich H, Seltzer S, Xavier K (2001) Drought prolongs leaf life span in the herbaceous desert perennial Cryptantha flava. Funct Ecol 15:740–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cernusak LA, Winter K, Turner BL (2010) Leaf nitrogen to phosphorus ratios of tropical trees: experimental assessment of physiological and environmental controls. New Phytol 185:770–779CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Chandra A, Pathak PS, Bhatt RK, Dubey A (2004) Variation in drought tolerance of different Stylosanthes accessions. Biol Plant 48:457–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Comstock J, Mencuccini M (1998) Control of stomatal conductance by leaf water potential in Hymenoclea salsola, a desert subshrub. Plant Cell Environ 21:1029–1038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cornelissen JHC, Lavorel S, Garnier E, Diaz S, Buchmann N, Gurvich DE, Reich PB, ter Steege H, Morgan HD, van der Heijden MGA, Pausas JG, Poorter H (2003) A handbook of protocols for standardised and easy measurement of plant functional traits worldwide. Aust J Bot 51:335–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornelissen JHC, Quested HM, Logtestijn RSP, Perez-Harguindeguy N, Gwynn-Jones D, Diaz S, Callaghan TV, Press MC, Aerts R (2006) Foliar pH as a new plant trait: can it explain variation in foliar chemistry and carbon cycling processes among subarctic plant species and types? Oecologia 147:315–326CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Costa-Saura JM, Martínez-Vilalta J, Trabucco A, Spano D, Mereu S (2016) Specific leaf area and hydraulic traits explain niche segregation along an aridity gradient in Mediterranean woody species. Perspect Plant Ecol 21:23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Craine JM, Frochle J, Tilman DG, Wedin DA, Chapin FS (2001) The relationships among root and leaf traits of 76 grassland species and relative abundance along fertility and disturbance gradients. Oikos 93:274–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cunningham AB (2001) Applied ethnobotany: people, wild plant use and conservation. Earthscan Publications Ltd, SterlingGoogle Scholar
  15. Diaz S, Hodgson JG, Thompson K, Cabido M, Cornelissen JHC, Jalili A, Montserrat-Martí G, Grime JP, Zarrinkamar F, Asri Y, Band SR, Basconcelo S, Castro-Díez P, Funes G, Hamzehee B, Khoshnevi M, Pérez-Harguindeguy N, Pérez-Rontomé MC, Shirvany FA, Vendramini F, Yazdani S, Abbas-Azimi R, Bogaard A, Boustani S, Charles M, Dehghan M, de Torres-Espuny L, Falczuk V, Guerrero-Campo J, Hynd A, Jones G, Kowsary E, Kazemi-Saeed F, Maestro-Martínez M, Romo-Díez A, Shaw S, Siavash B, Villar-Salvador P, Zak MR (2004) The plant traits that drive ecosystems: evidence from three continents. J Veg Sci 15:295–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eamus D, Prior L (2001) Ecophysiology of trees of seasonally dry tropics: comparisons among phenologies. Adv Ecol Res 32:113–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elser JJ, Fagan WF, Denno RF, Dobberfuhl DR, Folarin A, Huberty A, Interlandi S, Kilham SS, McCauley E, Schulz KL, Siemann EH, Sterner RW (2000) Nutritional constraints in terrestrial and freshwater food webs. Nature 408:578–580CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Elser JJ, Fagan WF, Kerkhoff AJ, Swenson NG, Enquist BJ (2010) Biological stoichiometry of plant production: metabolism, scaling and ecological response to global change. New Phytol 186:593–608CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Franco AC, Bustamante MMC, Caldas LS, Coradin Vera TR (2005) Leaf functional traits of Neotropical savanna trees in relation to seasonal water deficit. Trees 19:326–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garrish V, Cernusak LA, Winter K, Turner BL (2010) Nitrogen to phosphorus ratio of plant biomass versus soil solution in a tropical pioneer tree, Ficus insipida. J Exp Bot 61:3735–3748CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Golubov J, Mandujano MC, Eguiarte LE (2001) The paradox of mesquites (Prosopis spp.): invading species of biodiversity enhancers. Bol Soc Bot Mex 69:21–28Google Scholar
  22. Güsewell S (2004) N:P ratios in terrestrial plants: variation and functional significance. New Phytol 164:243–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Han WX, Fang JY, Guo DL, Zhang Y (2005) Leaf nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry across 753 terrestrial plant species in China. New Phytol 168:377–385CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Harms W (1990) Quercus virginiana. In: Burns R, Honkala BH (eds) Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. hardwoods. Agriculture handbook, vol 654. USDA Forest Service, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  25. Kerkhoff AJ, Enquist BJ, Elser JJ, Fagan WF (2005) Plant allometry, stoichiometry and the temperature-dependence of primary productivity. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 14:585–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koerselman W, Meuleman AFM (1996) The vegetation N/P ratio—a new tool to detect the nature of nutrient limitation. J Appl Ecol 33:1441–1450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kuo S (1996) Phosphorus. In: Sparks DI, Page AI, Helmke PA, Leoppert RH, Soltanpour PN, Tabatabbi MA, John CT, Summer ME (eds) Chemical methods of soil analysis. Part 3, soil science society of America. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp 869–919Google Scholar
  28. Kursar TA, Coley PD (2003) Convergence in defense syndromes of young leaves in tropical rainforests. Biochem Syst Ecol 31:929–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lambers H, Poorter H (1992) Inherent variation in growth rate between higher plants: a search for physiological causes and ecological consequences. Adv Ecol Res 23:187–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Laureano RG, Lazo YO, Linares JC, Luque A, Martínez F, Seco JI, Merino J (2008) The cost of stress resistance: construction and maintenance costs of leaves and roots in two populations of Quercus ilex. Tree Physiol 28:1721–1728CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lavorel S, Díaz S, Cornelissen JHC, Garnier E, Harrison SP, McIntyre S, Pausas JG, Perez-Harguindeguy N, Roumet C, Urcelay C (2007) Plant functional types: are we getting any closer to the Holy Grail? In: Canadell JG, Pataki DE, Pitelka LF (eds) Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing World. Springer, Berlin, pp 149–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Li JY, Guo QX, Zhang JX, Korpelainen H, Li CY (2016) Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus supply on growth and physiological traits of two Larix species. Environ Exp Bot 130:206–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marron N, Dreyer E, Boudouresque E, Delay D, Petit JM, Delmotte FM, Brignolas F (2003) Impact of successive drought and re-watering cycles on growth and specific leaf area of two Populus canadensis (Moench) clones, “Dorskamp” and “Luisa_Avanzo”. Tree Physiol 23:1225–1235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Marschner H, Marschner P (2012) Marschner’s mineral nutrition of higher plants. Academic press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. Mediavilla S, Garcia-ciudad A, Garcia-ciudad B, Escudero A (2008) Testing the correlations between leaf life span and leaf structural reinforcement in 13 species of European mediterranean woody plants. Funct Ecol 22:787–793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Niinemets Ü (2001) Global-scale climatic controls of leaf dry mass per area, density, and thickness in trees and shrubs. Ecology 82:453–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Niklas KJ, Cobb ED, Niineemets Ü, Reich PB, Sellin A, Shipley B, Wright IJ (2007) “Diminishing returns” in the scaling of functional leaf traits across and within species groups. PNAS 104:8891–8896CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Pierce LL, Running SW, Walker J (1994) Regional-scale relationships of leaf-area index to specific leaf-area and leaf nitrogen-content. Ecol Appl 4:313–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Poorter H, De Jong RA (1999) Comparison of specific leaf area chemical composition and leaf construction costs of field plants from 15 habitats differing in productivity. New Phytol 143:163–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Poorter H, Garnier E (2007) Ecological significance of inherent variation in relative growth rate and its components. In: Pugnaire FI, Valladares F (eds) Functional plant ecology, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 67–100Google Scholar
  41. Poorter H, Niinemets U, Poorter L, Wright IJ, Villar R (2009) Causes and consequences of variation in leaf mass per area (LMA): a meta-analysis. New Phytol 182:565–588CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Pringle EG, Adams RI, Broadbent E, Busby PE, Donatti CI, Kurten EL (2011) Distinct leaf-trait syndromes of evergreen and deciduous trees in a seasonally dry tropical forest. Biotropica 43:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Prior LD, Eamus D, Bowman DMJS (2003) Leaf attributes in the seasonally dry tropics: a comparison of four habitats in northern Australia. Funct Ecol 17:504–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Qin J, Xi WM, Rahmlow A, Kong HY, Zhang Z, Shangguan ZP (2016) Effects of forest plantation types on leaf traits of Ulmus pumila and Robinia pseudoacacia on the Loess Plateau, China. Ecol Eng 97:416–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Reich PB, Oleksyn J (2004) Global patterns of plant leaf N and P in relation to temperature and latitude. PNAS 101:11001–11006CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Reich PB, Walters MB, Ellsworth DS (1992) Leaf life-span in relation to leaf, plant and stand characteristics among diverse ecosystems. Ecol Monogr 62:365–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Reich PB, Walters MB, Ellsworth DS (1997) From tropics to tundra: global convergence in plant functioning. PNAS 94:13730–13734CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Reich PB, Ellsworth DS, Walters MB, Vose JM, Gresham C, Volin JC, Bowman WD (1999) Generality of leaf trait relationships: a test across six biomes. Ecology 80:1955–1969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Reich PB, Wright IJ, Cavender-Bares JM, Graine JM, Oleksyn J, Westoby M, Walters MB (2003) The evolution of plant functional variation: traits, spectra, and strategies. Int J Plant Sci 164:143–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Reich PB, Wright IJ, Lusk CH (2007) Predicting leaf physiology from simple plant and climate attributes: a global GLOPNET analysis. Ecol Appl 17:1982–1988CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Sardans J, Penuelas J, Roda F (2006) Plasticity of leaf morphological traits, leaf nutrient content, and water capture in the Mediterranean evergreen oak Quercus ilex subsp. ballota in response to fertilization and changes in competitive conditions. Ecosicence 13:258–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schmandt J, North GR, Clarkson J (2012) The impact of global warming on texas, 2nd edn. University of Texas Press, AustinGoogle Scholar
  53. Shipley B, Vile D, Garnier E, Wright I, Poorter H (2005) Functional linkages between leaf traits and net photosynthetic rate: reconciling empirical and mechanistic models. Funct Ecol 19:602–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Silva JO, Espírito-Santo MM, Melo GA (2012) Herbivory on Handroanthus ochraceus (Bignoniaceae) along a successional gradient in a tropical dry forest. Arthropod Plant Interact 6:45–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Silva JO, Espírito-Santoa MM, Moraisb HC (2015) Leaf traits and herbivory on deciduous and evergreen trees in a tropical dry forest. Basic Appl Ecol 16:210–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sterner RW, Elser JJ (2002) Ecological stoichiometry: the biology of elements from molecules to the biosphere. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  57. Suter M, Edwards PJ (2013) Convergent succession of plant communities is linked to species’ functional traits. Perspect Plant Ecol 15:217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tomlinson KW, Poorter L, Sterck FJ, Borghetti F, Ward D, de Bie S (2013) Leaf adaptations of evergreen and deciduous trees of semi-arid and humid savannas on three continents. J Ecol 101:430–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Turner IM (1994) Sclerophylly: primarily protective? Funct Ecol 8:669–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Villar R, Merino JA (2001) Comparison of leaf construction cost in woody species with differing leaf life-spans in contrasting ecosystems. New Phytol 151:213–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Violle C, Navas ML, Vile D, Kazakou E, Fortunel C, Hummel I, Garnier E (2007) Let the concept of trait be functional! Oikos 116:882–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang LL, Zhao GX, Li M, Zhang MT, Zhang LF, Zhang XF, An LZJ, Xu S (2015) C:N: P stoichiometry and leaf traits of halophytes in an arid saline environment, Northwest China. PLoS ONE 10(3):1–16Google Scholar
  63. Waring EF, Schwilk DW (2014) Plant dieback under exceptional drought driven by elevation, not by plant traits, in Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA. Peer J 2:477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Williams J, Gardener CJ (1984) Environmental constraints to growth and survival of Stylosanthes. In: Stace HM, Edye LA (eds) The biology and agronomy of stylosanthes. Academic Press, Sydney, pp 181–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson PJ, Thompson KEN, Hodgson JG (1999) Specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content as alternative predictors of plant strategies. New Phytol 143:155–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wright IJ, Westoby M (2001) Understanding seedling growth relationships through specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen concentration: generalizations across growth forms and growth irradiance. Oecologia 127:21–29CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Wright IJ, Reich PB, Westoby M, Acherly DD, Baruch Z, Bongers F, Cavender-Bares J, Johannes HC, Chapin T, Cornelissen JHC, Diemer M, Flexas J, Garnier E, Groom PK, Gulias J, Hikosaka K, Lamont BB, Lee T, Lee W, Lusk C, Midgley J, Navas ML, Niinemets Ü, Oleksyn J, Osada N, Poorter H, Poot P, Prior L, Pyankov VI, Roumet C, Thomas SC, Tjoelker MG, Veneklaas EJ, Villar R (2004) The worldwide leaf economics spectrum. Nature 428:821–827CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Wright IJ, Reich PB, Cornelissen JHC, Falstar DS, Garnier E, Hikosaka K, Lamont BB, Lee W, Oleksyn J, Osada N, Poorter H, Villar R, Warton DI, Westoby M (2005a) Assessing the generality of global leaf trait relationships. New Phytol 166:485–496CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Wright IJ, Reich PB, Cornelissen JHC, Falster DS, Groom PK, Hikosaka K, Lee W, Lusk CH, Niinemets Ü, Oleksyn J, Osada N, Poorter H, Warton DI, Westoby M (2005b) Modulation of leaf economic traits and trait relationships by climate. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 14:411–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yang X, Tang JW, Mustard JF, Wu J, Zhao KG, Serbin S, Lee JE (2016) Seasonal variability of multiple leaf traits captured by leaf spectroscopy at two temperate deciduous forests. Remote Sens Environ 179:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zhao N, He N, Wang Q, Zhang X, Wang R, Xu Z (2014) The altitudinal patterns of leaf C:N: P stoichiometry are regulated by plant growth form, climate and soil on Changbai Mountain, China. PLoS ONE 9:95–96Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and EnvironmentAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiChina
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Health SciencesTexas A&M University-KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

Personalised recommendations