Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Willow species (genus: Salix) with contrasting habitat affinities differ in their photoprotective responses to water stress

Jessica A. Savage A D , Jeannine Cavender-Bares B and Amy Verhoeven C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Plant Biological Sciences Program, University of Minnesota, 250 Biological Sciences Center, 1445 Gortner Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA.

B Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, 100 Ecology, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA.

C Department of Biology, University of St Thomas, 2115 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: savag070@umn.edu

Functional Plant Biology 36(4) 300-309 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP08303
Submitted: 27 November 2008  Accepted: 18 February 2009   Published: 1 April 2009

Abstract

Although many Mediterranean and xeric plant species enhance their xanthophyll-mediated thermal dissipation under drought conditions, there has been limited research on photoprotective mechanism in droughted plants from other habitats. To investigate whether wetland plants utilise this mechanism under drought conditions, and whether species differ in their responses depending on their habitat affinities, we investigated the response of six willow (Salix) species to a short-term drought. In a greenhouse, 40 individuals per species were dried down over 4 weeks. Periodically during the drought, predawn and midday chlorophyll fluorescence measurements were taken and leaf discs were collected for pigment analysis with HPLC. Predawn water potential was also monitored throughout the experiment. All six species increased xanthophyll cycle activity and their capacity to dissipate excess energy during the drought by increasing their total de-epoxidised xanthophyll concentration and the concentration of zeaxanthin in proportion to chlorophyll. In general, habitat generalists had greater photoprotective responses than wetland specialists, while the wetland specialists had higher pre-drought nonphotochemical quenching. These differences are consistent with their contrasting photosynthetic rates. The observed variation in species drought responses suggests that their photoprotective strategies vary with habitat affinity.

Additional keywords: nonphotochemical quenching, wetlands, xanthophyll cycle.


Acknowledgements

We thank Cassandra Olson and Ethan Warner for assisting with data collection. All the seeds for this experiment were collected at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve and we appreciate John Haarstad’s and Barbara Delaney’s assistance in locating the species at the site. We also would like to thank Dustin Haines, Rebecca Montgomery, Peter Reich, George Weiblen, and Ruth Shaw and for their feedback on the paper and experiment. Funding was provided by a National Science Foundation LTER grant to the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (DEB: 0620652, JCB), Dayton Natural History Funds (JS) and the University of Minnesota, Department of Plant Biology (JS).


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