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

Light sensitivity of shoot hydraulic conductance in five temperate deciduous tree species

Krõõt Aasamaa A B D and Anu Sõber C

A University of Helsinki, Department of Biosciences, Plant Biology, PO Box 65, Helsinki 00014, Finland.

B Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Department of Silviculture, Kreutzwaldi 5, Tartu 51014, Estonia.

C University of Tartu, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, Department of Botany, Lai 40, Tartu 51005, Estonia.

D Corresponding author. Email: kroot.aasamaa@helsinki.fi

Functional Plant Biology 39(8) 661-669 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP12047
Submitted: 15 February 2012  Accepted: 18 June 2012   Published: 30 July 2012

Abstract

The light sensitivity of the shoot hydraulic conductance in five temperate deciduous tree species was measured using two methods to clarify the role of light sensitivity and the suitability of the methods used to study it. The light sensitivity measured using a method that included an interruption of ≤10 min in shoot light acclimation did not differ from that measured using a method with continuous illumination. The ‘noncontinuous light’ methods are suitable for measuring hydraulic conductance and its light response. Light sensitivity correlated with other leaf water traits as follows: positively with the ion-mediated increase in xylem hydraulic conductance; a relative decrease in the hydraulic conductance of the laminae in response to HgCl2; a relative change in stomatal conductance in response to changes in PAR intensity or atmospheric CO2 concentration, or to a decrease in air humidity or leaf water potential; and with instantaneous water use efficiency. The traits correlated negatively with shoot hydraulic conductance, stomatal conductance and relative increases in stomatal conductance in response to increases in leaf water potential. We suggest that high light sensitivity should be considered as one of the characteristics of conservative water use in trees. Low blue light increased shoot hydraulic conductance to a similar extent to moderate white light and twice as much as moderate red light. Blue light perception is important in the light sensitivity mechanism.

Additional keywords: Acer platanoides, Padus avium, Populus tremula, Salix caprea, Tilia cordata.


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