In 2012, an extreme summer drought induced species-specific die-back in woody species in Northeastern Italy. Quercus pubescens and Ostrya carpinifolia were heavily impacted, while Prunus mahaleb was largely unaffected. By comparing seasonal changes in isotopic composition of xylem sap, rainfall and deep soil samples, we show that P. mahaleb has a deeper root system than the other two species. This morphological trait allowed P  mahaleb to maintain higher water potential (Ψ), gas exchange rates and non-structural carbohydrates content (NSC) throughout the summer, when compared with the other species. More favourable water and carbon states allowed relatively stable maintenance of stem hydraulic conductivity (k) throughout the growing season. In contrast, in Quercus pubescens and Ostrya carpinifolia, decreasing Ψ and NSC were associated with significant hydraulic failure, with spring-to-summer k loss averaging 60%. Our data support the hypothesis that drought-induced tree decline is a complex phenomenon that cannot be modelled on the basis of single predictors of tree status like hydraulic efficiency, vulnerability and carbohydrate content. Our data highlight the role of rooting depth in seasonal progression of water status, gas exchange and NSC, with possible consequences for energy-demanding mechanisms involved in the maintenance of vascular integrity.

Rooting depth, water relations and non-structural carbohydrate dynamics in three woody angiosperms differentially affected by an extreme summer drought

NARDINI, Andrea;SAVI, TADEJA;BERTONCIN, PAOLO;ZINI, Luca;
2016

Abstract

In 2012, an extreme summer drought induced species-specific die-back in woody species in Northeastern Italy. Quercus pubescens and Ostrya carpinifolia were heavily impacted, while Prunus mahaleb was largely unaffected. By comparing seasonal changes in isotopic composition of xylem sap, rainfall and deep soil samples, we show that P. mahaleb has a deeper root system than the other two species. This morphological trait allowed P  mahaleb to maintain higher water potential (Ψ), gas exchange rates and non-structural carbohydrates content (NSC) throughout the summer, when compared with the other species. More favourable water and carbon states allowed relatively stable maintenance of stem hydraulic conductivity (k) throughout the growing season. In contrast, in Quercus pubescens and Ostrya carpinifolia, decreasing Ψ and NSC were associated with significant hydraulic failure, with spring-to-summer k loss averaging 60%. Our data support the hypothesis that drought-induced tree decline is a complex phenomenon that cannot be modelled on the basis of single predictors of tree status like hydraulic efficiency, vulnerability and carbohydrate content. Our data highlight the role of rooting depth in seasonal progression of water status, gas exchange and NSC, with possible consequences for energy-demanding mechanisms involved in the maintenance of vascular integrity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2888843
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