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Time is on our side: the importance of considering a recovery period when assessing flooding tolerance in plants

Abstract

There is wide consensus about the significance of monitoring plant responses during flooding when evaluating specific tolerance. Nonetheless, plant recovery once water recedes has often been overlooked. This note highlights the importance of registering plant performance during a recovery phase. Two opposite types of plant growth responses, during and after flooding, are discussed. It is shown that an apparently poor performance during flooding does not necessarily involve a reduced tolerance, as plants can prioritize saving energy and carbohydrates for later resumption of vigorous growth during recovery. Conversely, maintenance of positive plant growth during flooding can imply extensive depletion of reserves, consequently constraining future plant growth. Therefore, to accurately estimate real tolerance to this stress, plant performance should be appraised during both flooding and recovery periods.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by grants from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA 20020090300024) and “Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica” ANPCyT Foncyt–PICT-2010-0205.

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Correspondence to Gustavo Gabriel Striker.

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Striker, G.G. Time is on our side: the importance of considering a recovery period when assessing flooding tolerance in plants. Ecol Res 27, 983–987 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-012-0978-9

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Keywords

  • Flooding stress
  • Recovery period
  • Root recovery
  • Use of reserve carbohydrates