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Stem xylem resistance to cavitation is related to xylem structure but not to growth and water-use efficiency at the within-population level in Populus nigra L.

Abstract : Xylem resistance to drought-induced cavitation is a key trait of plant water relations. This study assesses the genetic variation expressed for stem cavitation resistance within a population of a riparian species, the European black poplar (Populus nigra L.), and explores its relationships with xylem anatomy, water-use efficiency (WUE), and growth. Sixteen structural and physiological traits related to cavitation resistance, xylem anatomy, growth, bud phenology, and WUE were measured on 33 P. nigra genotypes grown under optimal irrigation in a 2-year-old clonal experiment in a nursery. Significant genetic variation was expressed for the xylem tension inducing 50% loss of hydraulic conductivity (Ψ50) within the studied population, as attested by the high value of broad-sense heritability estimated for this trait (H 2 ind = 0.72). Stem cavitation resistance was associated with xylem structure: the more cavitation-resistant genotypes exhibited lower hydraulic efficiency and higher mechanical reinforcement as assessed from stem xylem cross sections. By contrast, Ψ50 was not significantly related to shoot height increment, total above-ground dry mass, or bulk leaf carbon isotope discrimination, a proxy for intrinsic WUE. These findings indicate that the trade-offs between xylem resistance to cavitation, hydraulic efficiency, and mechanical reinforcement can occur at the within-population level. Given that the studied genotypes were exposed to the same environmental conditions and evolutionary drivers in situ, the trade-offs detected at this scale are expected to reflect true functional relationships.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02639351
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 11:51:12 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 31, 2022 - 4:25:28 AM

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Justine Guet, Régis Fichot, Camille Ledée, Françoise Laurans, Hervé Cochard, et al.. Stem xylem resistance to cavitation is related to xylem structure but not to growth and water-use efficiency at the within-population level in Populus nigra L.. Journal of Experimental Botany, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015, 66 (15), pp.4643-4652. ⟨10.1093/jxb/erv232⟩. ⟨hal-02639351⟩

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