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

Differential responses of the mangrove Avicennia marina to salinity and abscisic acid

Ruth Reef A D , Nele Schmitz B , Britt A. Rogers A , Marilyn C. Ball C and Catherine E. Lovelock A

A School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.

B Laboratory for Plant Biology and Nature Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.

C Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: r.reef@uq.edu.au

Functional Plant Biology 39(12) 1038-1046 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP12178
Submitted: 20 June 2012  Accepted: 25 August 2012   Published: 24 September 2012

Abstract

Salinisation of the soil can cause plant water deficits, ion and nutrient imbalances and toxic reactions. The halophyte, Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh., is a mangrove that tolerates a wide range of soil salinities. In order to understand how salinity affects plant growth and functioning and how salinity responses are influenced by the water deficit signalling hormone abscisic acid (ABA) we grew A. marina seedlings under two non-growth limiting salinities: 60% seawater and 90% seawater and with and without exogenously supplied ABA. We measured growth, photosynthesis, sap flow, aquaporin gene expression, hydraulic anatomy and nutrient status as well as sap ABA concentrations. ABA addition resulted in a drought phenotype (reduced sap flow, transpiration rates and photosynthesis and increased water use efficiency and aquaporin expression). In contrast, growth in high salinity did not lead to responses that are typical for water deficits, but rather, could be characterised as drought avoidance strategies (no reduction in sap flow, transpiration rates and photosynthesis and reduced aquaporin expression). Tissue nutrient concentrations were higher in seedlings grown at high salinities. We did not find evidence for a role for ABA in the mangrove salinity response, suggesting ABA is not produced directly in response to high concentrations of NaCl ions.

Additional keywords: ABA, aquaporins, halophytes, salinity tolerance, sap flow, stomata.


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