New Forests

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 119–130 | Cite as

Physiological response to drought in seedlings of Pistacia lentiscus (mastic tree)

  • A. R. Vasques
  • G. Pinto
  • M. C. Dias
  • C. M. Correia
  • J. M. Moutinho-Pereira
  • V. R. Vallejo
  • C. Santos
  • J. J. Keizer
Article

Abstract

Drought is often an important constraint on plant regeneration in the Mediterranean. Pistacia lentiscus is of particular interest in restoration actions in fire-prone areas. This study addressed the current knowledge gap on the physiological response of this species to drought during its initial development. We hypothesized that the seedlings would have a high resistance to drought. In addition, we expected that seedlings from two sources with contrasting climate conditions would perform distinctly under drought. Seeds were collected from two populations in north and south Portugal. Seedlings were subjected to a progressively lower osmotic potential during 25 days, through increasing PEG concentration in the hydroponic solution. The physiological response of the seedlings was assessed by measuring gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence after 15 and 25 days of drought exposure, when the osmotic potential was −2.47 and −5.17 MPa, respectively. Shoot growth, net CO2 assimilation rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration were significantly reduced under drought conditions, whilst intrinsic water-use efficiency (IWUE) remained unaffected. This response partially agreed with the known strategy of P. lentiscus to cope with drought, typically maintaining high IWUE, however the observed reduction in stomatal conductance was not as pronounced as expected. Drought induced a decrease in leaf pigments that could be linked to photo-protective mechanisms. Seed source did not have a significant effect on drought response. P. lentiscus showed a high resistance to drought, which clearly supported its use in restoration actions in the Mediterranean, but these findings require further testing under field conditions.

Keywords

Osmotic stress Polyethylene glycol Ecological restoration Resilience 

Abbreviations

A

Net CO2 assimilation rate

E

Transpiration rate

gs

Stomatal conductance

Ci/Ca

Ratio of intercellular to atmospheric CO2 concentration

IWUE

Intrinsic water use efficiency

Fv/Fm

Maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII

qP

Photochemical quenching

ΦPSII

Effective quantum efficiency of PSII

NPQ

Non-photochemical quenching

WC

Water content

CT

Control

D

Drought

OP

Osmotic potential

MW

Mann–Whitney

KW

Kruskal–Wallis

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. R. Vasques
    • 1
  • G. Pinto
    • 2
  • M. C. Dias
    • 2
  • C. M. Correia
    • 3
  • J. M. Moutinho-Pereira
    • 3
  • V. R. Vallejo
    • 4
    • 5
  • C. Santos
    • 2
  • J. J. Keizer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environment and Planning, Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (CITAB)University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  4. 4.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.CEAM Foundation, Parque TecnológicoPaternaSpain

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