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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


 Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Drought tolerances of three stem-succulent halophyte species of an inland semi-arid salt lake system

Victoria Marchesini, Chuanhua Yin, Tim Colmer, Erik Veneklaas


Succulent halophytes of the genus Tecticornia are dominant in salt marshes of inland lakes of Australia. We assessed the drought responses of T. indica subsp. bidens (Nees) K.A.Sheph. and Paul G.Wilson, T. auriculata Paul G.Wilson (K.A.Sheph. and Paul G.Wilson) and T. medusa (K.A.Sheph. and S.J.van Leeuwen) that occur in the Fortescue Marsh, north-west Australia. In a glasshouse experiment, the three species were grown individually and in different combinations, with varying number of plants per pot to achieve comparable dry-down rates among pots. Prior to the imposition of drought (by withholding water) the three species showed differences in dry mass and physiological variables. As the soil dried out, the three species showed similar reductions of transpiration, osmotic potential and photochemical efficiency. Shoot growth was depressed more than root growth. Tissue water loss from portions of the succulent shoots accounted for approximately 30% of transpiration during severe drought stress. There was no osmotic adjustment. Shoot tissue concentrations of Na+ and Cl- tended to increase during drought, and those of K+ decreased, however these changes were not always statistically significant. Chlorophyll concentration decreased while betacyanin concentration increased. Similar responses of these species to water deficits may be due to the opposing gradients in drought and salinity in the natural habitats so that the species have similar mechanisms for drought and osmotic stress tolerance.

FP14108  Accepted 25 May 2014
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