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

Croton blanchetianus modulates its morphophysiological responses to tolerate drought in a tropical dry forest

Keila R. Mendes A , João A. A. Granja A , Jean P. Ometto B , Antônio C. D. Antonino C , Rômulo S. C. Menezes C , Eugênia C. Pereira D E and Marcelo F. Pompelli A E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Plant Physiology Laboratory, Federal University of Pernambuco, Department of Botany, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

B Brazilian Institute for Space Research, Remote Sensing Division, São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil.

C Federal University of Pernambuco, Department of Nuclear Energy, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

D Federal University of Pernambuco, Department of Geographical Sciences, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

E Corresponding authors. Emails: marcelo.pompelli@ufpe.br; eugenia.pereira@pesquisador.cnpq.br

Functional Plant Biology 44(10) 1039-1051 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP17098
Submitted: 7 April 2017  Accepted: 28 June 2017   Published: 9 August 2017

Abstract

An understanding of variations in morphophysiological leaf traits of plant models in dry tropical forests is essential for quantifying C fluxes from forest ecosystems in response to climate changes. The present study evaluated the influences of seasonal rainfall and different light conditions on the gas exchange, nutrients, organic compounds and morphological traits in Croton blanchetianus Baill. trees within a fragment of Caatinga forest. Stomatal conductance (gs) and net photosynthesis (PN) demonstrated variations within the diurnal cycle, with maximum values at approximately midday and minimum values at predawn. The PN and the diurnal integrated CO2 assimilation were lower during the dry season than in the rainy season. Water use efficiency was positively correlated with PN (r = 0.73) during the dry season only. However, the correlation between PN and gs was observed during the rainy season only (r = 0.60). Thus we demonstrated that C. blanchetianus has a remarkable ability to adapt to global climatic changes and could be considered a model in studies exploring water relationships in woody plants; consequently, this species may be important in future reforestation studies.

Additional keywords: diurnal variation, gas exchange, leaf nutrient, morphological traits, seasonal variations.


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