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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 41(12)

Drought tolerances of three stem-succulent halophyte species of an inland semiarid salt lake system

Victoria A. Marchesini A C, Chuanhua Yin B, Timothy D. Colmer A and Erik J. Veneklaas A

A School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
B Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology and Desert Environment, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China.
C Corresponding author. Email: victoria.marchesini@gmail.com

Functional Plant Biology 41(12) 1230-1238 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP14108
Submitted: 8 April 2014  Accepted: 25 May 2014   Published: 31 July 2014

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Succulent halophytes of the genus Tecticornia are dominant in salt marshes of inland lakes of Australia. We assessed the drought responses of a C4 species, Tecticornia indica subsp. bidens (Nees) K.A.Sheph. & Paul G.Wilson, and two C3 species, Tecticornia auriculata Paul G.Wilson (K.A.Sheph. & Paul G.Wilson) and Tecticornia medusa (K.A.Sheph. & S.J.van Leeuwen) that occur in the Fortescue Marsh, north-west Australia. In a glasshouse experiment, the three species were grown individually and in different combinations, with varying number of plants per pot to achieve comparable dry-down rates among pots. Prior to the imposition of drought (by withholding water) the three species showed differences in dry mass and physiological variables. As the soil dried out, the three species showed similar reductions of transpiration, osmotic potential and photochemical efficiency. Shoot growth was depressed more than root growth. Tissue water loss from portions of the succulent shoots accounted for ~30% of transpiration during severe drought stress. There was no osmotic adjustment. Shoot tissue concentrations of Na+ and Cl tended to increase during drought, and those of K+ decreased; however, these changes were not always statistically significant. Chlorophyll concentration decreased but betacyanin concentration increased. Despite occupying distinct positions in a water and salinity gradient, the three Tecticornia species had remarkably similar responses to soil water deficit.

Additional keywords: osmotic adjustment, pigments, Salicornioideae, salt marsh, stress, succulence.


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