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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 41(6)

Stomatal pore size and density in mangrove leaves and artificial leaves: effects on leaf water isotopic enrichment during transpiration

Leonel da Silveira Lobo Sternberg A B and Lynn M. Manganiello A

A Department of Biology, University of Miami, 1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA.
B Corresponding author. Email: leo@bio.miami.edu

Functional Plant Biology 41(6) 648-658 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP13235
Submitted: 6 August 2013  Accepted: 20 December 2013   Published: 29 January 2014

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We tested the hypothesis that the previously observed low isotopic enrichment of mangrove leaf water is caused by larger stomatal pores and lower densities compared with freshwater plants. First, we measured and compared pore size and density in mangroves, transitional and freshwater species in South Florida. We pooled this data with other reports encompassing 14 mangrove species and 134 freshwater species and tested for differences in pore size and density between mangroves and freshwater plants. Second, we built artificial leaves having different pore size and density and determined whether there were isotopic differences in their water after transpiration. Both the local survey and pooled data showed that mangrove leaves have significantly larger stomatal pores with lower densities compared with freshwater plants. Isotope enrichment of water from artificial leaves having larger less dense pores was lower than those having smaller and denser pores. Stomatal pore size and density has an effect on leaf water isotopic enrichment amongst other factors. Pore size and density probably affects key components of the Peclet ratio such as the distance advective flow of water must travel to the evaporative surface and the cross-sectional area of advective flow. These components, in turn, affect leaf water isotopic enrichment. Results from the artificial leaf experiment also mimic a recent finding that effective path length scales to the inverse of transpiration in real leaves. The implications of these findings further our understanding of leaf water isotope ratios and are important in applications of stable isotopes in the study of paleoclimate and atmospheric processes.

Additional keywords: hydrogen isotope ratios, leaf water, oxygen isotope ratios, paleoclimate, stomatal density, stomatal size.


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