The maintenance of hydraulic function during and after a drought event is crucial for tree survival, but the importance of non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) in the recovery phase is still debated. We tested whether higher NSC availability facilitates post-drought hydraulic recovery, by applying a short-term drought (Sdr) and a long-term drought combined with shading (Ldr+sh) in Fraxinus ornus and Ostrya carpinifolia. Plants were then re-irrigated and recovery was checked 24 h later, by measuring water potential, stem percentage loss of hydraulic conductance (PLC) and NSC content. The relative magnitude of hydraulic and carbon constraints was also assessed in desiccated plants. During drought, PLC increased only in F. ornus, while it was maintained almost constant in O. carpinifolia due to tighter stomatal control of xylem pressure (i.e. more isohydric). In F. ornus, only Sdr plants maintained high NSC contents at the end of drought and, when re-irrigated, recovered PLC to control values. Whereas hydraulic failure was ubiquitous, only F. ornus depleted NSC reserves at mortality. Our results suggest that preserving higher NSC content at the end of a drought can be important for the hydraulic resilience of trees.

Non-structural carbohydrate and hydraulic dynamics during drought and recovery in Fraxinus ornus and Ostrya carpinifolia saplings

Tomasella M.;Petruzzellis F.;Nardini A.
2019

Abstract

The maintenance of hydraulic function during and after a drought event is crucial for tree survival, but the importance of non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs) in the recovery phase is still debated. We tested whether higher NSC availability facilitates post-drought hydraulic recovery, by applying a short-term drought (Sdr) and a long-term drought combined with shading (Ldr+sh) in Fraxinus ornus and Ostrya carpinifolia. Plants were then re-irrigated and recovery was checked 24 h later, by measuring water potential, stem percentage loss of hydraulic conductance (PLC) and NSC content. The relative magnitude of hydraulic and carbon constraints was also assessed in desiccated plants. During drought, PLC increased only in F. ornus, while it was maintained almost constant in O. carpinifolia due to tighter stomatal control of xylem pressure (i.e. more isohydric). In F. ornus, only Sdr plants maintained high NSC contents at the end of drought and, when re-irrigated, recovered PLC to control values. Whereas hydraulic failure was ubiquitous, only F. ornus depleted NSC reserves at mortality. Our results suggest that preserving higher NSC content at the end of a drought can be important for the hydraulic resilience of trees.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2957459
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