Plant and Soil

, Volume 402, Issue 1–2, pp 191–209 | Cite as

Leaf water relations and gas exchange response to water deficit of olive (cv. Cobrançosa) in field grown conditions in Portugal

  • Anabela A. Fernandes-Silva
  • Álvaro López-Bernal
  • Timóteo C. Ferreira
  • Francisco J. Villalobos
Regular Article



To evaluate the effects of changes in water stress and variable evaporative demand on water potential (Ψ), relative water content (RWC) and gas exchange during two consecutive years (2005 and 2006) providing insight into the mechanisms of stomatal control in the little-studied cultivar ‘Cobrançosa’.


Measurements of water potential, gas exchange in olive trees subjected to three irrigation treatments: rainfed (T0), continuous deficit irrigation (T1) and well irrigated (T2) that received 0, 30 and 100 % of estimated crop evapotranspiration.


Both the differences in irrigation amounts and the prolonged summer drought conditions characteristic of the study area (Northeast Portugal) resulted in considerable divergences among treatments, with T2 showing the highest values of both Ψ, RWC and gas exchange rates and T0 the lowest. Stomatal conductance exhibited a strong down-regulation under increasing vapor pressure deficit (VPD), with water stress leading to parallel reductions in stomatal conductance values at any given VPD and sensitivity to changes in VPD. These effects might be associated to the deduced drought-induced declines in leaf specific hydraulic conductance (K L).


The results indicated that Cobrançosa olive trees have a near-isohydric behavior with a tendency to maintain a constant root-to-leaf water gradient (∆Ψ).


Olea europaeaWater relations Stomatal conductance Drought Isohydric Vapor pressure deficit 



We are very grateful to Eng. Manuel Afonso for providing the experimental orchard and to technical officer Mário Sérgio Graça for helping with the field measurements. We also thank to Professor Jóse Mountinho Pereira and to Assistant Professor Margarida Arrobas, for the loan of the pressure chamber, IRGA and neutron probe. Our thanks also go to Professor Fernando Raimundo for the help given towards the field classification of the soil used in the experimental study. Finally, we are most grateful to all anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was supported by project AGRO 175 of AGRO-INIA programme of Ministério da Agricultura (Portugal) and Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia do Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e do Ensino Superior (Portugal) by the doctoral fellowship (SFRH/BD/18441/2004) awarded to AA Fernandes-Silva. This study has also benefited from additional funding through projects AGL-2010-20766 of Spanish Ministry of Natural, Rural and Marine Environment and by the European Community’s Seven Framework Programme-FP7 (KBBE.2013.1.4-09) under Grant Agreement No. 613817 (MODEXTREME, modextreme. org).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anabela A. Fernandes-Silva
    • 1
  • Álvaro López-Bernal
    • 2
  • Timóteo C. Ferreira
    • 3
  • Francisco J. Villalobos
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, CITABUniversity of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, UTADQuinta de PradosPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de AgronomíaUniversidad de CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  3. 3.WoodleyUK
  4. 4.Instituto de Agricultura SostenibleCSICCórdobaSpain

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