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

Responses to chilling of two Eucalyptus globulus clones with contrasting drought resistance

Filipe Costa e Silva A C , Alla Shvaleva A B , M. Helena Almeida A , M. Manuela Chaves A B and João S. Pereira A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Tapada da Ajuda, Lisbon 1349-017, Portugal.

B Lab. de Ecofisiologia Molecular, IBET-ITQB, Apt.12, Oeiras 2784-505, Portugal.

C Corresponding author. Email: filipecs@isa.utl.pt

Functional Plant Biology 34(9) 793-802 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP07080
Submitted: 3 April 2007  Accepted: 21 June 2007   Published: 30 August 2007

Abstract

The effect of chilling on growth and plant hydraulic properties in a drought-resistant clone (CN5) and a drought-sensitive clone (ST51) of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. was evaluated. Chilling (10/5°C, day/night) led to a general decrease in growth of both clones and significant reductions in root hydraulic conductivity, rate of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in comparison to plants grown at control temperature (24/16°C). The drought-resistant CN5 clone maintained higher root growth and lower leaf-to-root-area ratio than the drought-sensitive ST51 clone, in both temperature treatments. Conversely, ST51 exhibited greater carbon allocation to the foliage and higher hydraulic conductance than clone CN5 at both temperatures. Plants of both clones, when acclimated to chilling, maintained a higher hydraulic conductivity than control plants exposed to chilling temperatures without acclimation. Under chilling, the main differences between clones were a higher water status and anthocyanin concentration in CN5 plants, and a stronger inhibition of root growth in ST51 plants. Except for roots, the hypothesis of a lower depression of growth rate in the drought-resistant clone under chilling was not verified. However, higher root growth under low temperatures, as observed in CN5, can be an advantageous trait in Mediterranean-type environments, protecting trees against summer water-stress.

Additional keywords: acclimation, allocation, hydraulic properties, root growth.


Acknowledgements

This research was carried out with financial support from the POCI 2010 and FSE. F. Costa e Silva and A. Shvaleva were supported by FCT, Lisbon, grant SFRH/BD/13211/2003 and grant SFRH/BPD/5667/2001, respectively. We also acknowledge the expert technical assistance of Elsa Breia in this research.


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