Xylem water content and wood density in spruce and oak trees detected by high-resolution computed tomography.
Elucidation of the mechanisms involved in long-distance water transport in trees requires knowledge of the water distribution within the sapwood and heartwood of the stem as well as of the earlywood and latewood of an annual ring. X-ray computed tomography is a powerful tool for measuring density distributions and water contents in the xylem with high spatial resolution. Ten- to 20-year-old spruce (Picea abies L. KARST.) and oak (Quercus robur) trees grown in the field were used throughout the experiments. Stem and branch discs were collected from different tree heights, immediately deep frozen, and used for the tomographic determinations of spatial water distributions. Results are presented for single-tree individuals, demonstrating heartwood and sapwood distribution throughout their entire length as well as the water relations in single annual rings of both types of wood. Tree rings of the sapwood show steep water gradients from latewood to earlywood, whereas those of the heartwood reflect water deficiency in both species. Although only the latest two annual rings of the ringporous species are generally assumed to transport water, we found similar amounts of water and no tyloses in all rings of the oak sapwood, which indicates that at least water storage is important in the whole sapwood. (+info)
Fungal growth, production, and sporulation during leaf decomposition in two streams.
I examined the activity of fungi associated with yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) and white oak (Quercus alba) leaves in two streams that differed in pH and alkalinity (a hard water stream [pH 8.0] and a soft water stream [pH 6.7]) and contained low concentrations of dissolved nitrogen (<35 microg liter(-1)) and phosphorus (<3 microg liter(-1)). The leaves of each species decomposed faster in the hard water stream (decomposition rates, 0.010 and 0.007 day(-1) for yellow poplar and oak, respectively) than in the soft water stream (decomposition rates, 0.005 and 0.004 day(-1) for yellow poplar and oak, respectively). However, within each stream, the rates of decomposition of the leaves of the two species were not significantly different. During the decomposition of leaves, the fungal biomasses determined from ergosterol concentrations, the production rates determined from rates of incorporation of [(14)C]acetate into ergosterol, and the sporulation rates associated with leaves were dynamic, typically increasing to maxima and then declining. The maximum rates of fungal production and sporulation associated with yellow poplar leaves were greater than the corresponding rates associated with white oak leaves in the hard water stream but not in the soft water stream. The maximum rates of fungal production associated with the leaves of the two species were higher in the hard water stream (5.8 mg g(-1) day(-1) on yellow poplar leaves and 3.1 mg g(-1) day(-1) on oak leaves) than in the soft water stream (1.6 mg g(-1) day(-1) on yellow poplar leaves and 0.9 mg g(-1) day(-1) on oak leaves), suggesting that effects of water chemistry other than the N and P concentrations, such as pH or alkalinity, may be important in regulating fungal activity in streams. In contrast, the amount of fungal biomass (as determined from ergosterol concentrations) on yellow poplar leaves was greater in the soft water stream (12.8% of detrital mass) than in the hard water stream (9.6% of detrital mass). This appeared to be due to the decreased amount of fungal biomass that was converted to conidia and released from the leaf detritus in the soft water stream. (+info)
Isolation and functional analysis of a cDNA encoding a myrcene synthase from holm oak (Quercus ilex L.).
An 859-bp cDNA segment of a terpene synthase gene was amplified by PCR from the evergreen sclerophyllous holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) using heterologous primers for conserved regions of terpene synthase genes (TPS) in dicotyledonous plants. Based on the sequence of this segment, homologous primers were designed for amplification by RACE-PCR of a cDNA segment carrying the monoterpene synthase gene myrS. The gene encodes a protein of 597 amino acids including an N-terminal putative plastid transit peptide. The gene without the segment encoding the transit peptide was cloned by PCR into a bacterial expression vector. Expression in Escherichia coli yielded an active monoterpene synthase, which converted geranyl diphosphate (GDP) predominantly into the acyclic monoterpene myrcene and to a very small extent into cyclic monoterpenes. Sequence comparison with previously cloned monoterpene synthases revealed that the myrcene synthase from Q. ilex belongs to the TPSb subfamily. (+info)
Anatolian tree rings and a new chronology for the east Mediterranean Bronze-Iron Ages.
We report an extensive program of high-precision radiocarbon dating to establish the best date for a floating 1599-year Anatolian tree ring chronology that spans the later third millennium B.C. through the earlier first millennium B.C. This chronology is directly associated with a number of key sites and ancient personages. A previously suggested dating is withdrawn and is replaced by a robust new date fix 22 (+4 or -7) years earlier. These new radiocarbon wiggle-matched dates offer a unique independent resource for establishing the precise chronology of the ancient Near East and Aegean and help resolve, among others, a long-standing debate in favor of the so-called Middle Mesopotamian chronology. (+info)
Heritability of phenolics in Quercus laevis inferred using molecular markers.
Studies of quantitative inheritance of phenotypes do not generally encompass the range of environmental conditions to which a population may be exposed in a natural setting and are rarely conducted on long-lived species due to the time required for traditional crossing experiments. We used a marker-based method to estimate relatedness with microsatellite markers in a natural population of a long-lived oak, then used this inferred relatedness to examine quantitative genetic variation in the concentration of foliar phenolics. Estimating heritability using this method requires both significant relatedness and variance in relatedness over distance. However, this population did not show significant variance of relatedness, so only the presence of heritability, and its ranking among traits and environments, could be estimated. Seven foliar phenolics showed a significant relationship between phenotypic similarity and relatedness. The significance of this relationship varied among individual phenolic compounds, as well as by season. Genetic factors appeared to have a more measurable influence on the production of secondary compounds early in the season. After leaf expansion, covariance of relatedness and phenotypic variance appear to become less significant. Therefore heritability may vary seasonally for these traits. (+info)
Developmentally and stress-induced small heat shock proteins in cork oak somatic embryos.
The timing and tissue localization of small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) during cork oak somatic embryo development was investigated under normal growing culture conditions and in response to stress. Western blot analyses using polyclonal antibodies raised against cork oak recombinant HSP17 showed a transient accumulation of class I sHSPs during somatic embryo maturation and germination. Moreover, the amount of protein increased at all stages of embryo development in response to exogenous stress. The developmentally accumulated proteins localized to early differentiating, but not the highly dividing, regions of the root and shoot apical meristems. By contrast, these highly dividing regions were strongly immunostained after heat stress. Findings support the hypothesis of a distinct control for developmentally and stress-induced accumulation of class I sHSPs. The possible role of sHSPs is discussed in relation to their tissue specific localization. (+info)
Structure and function of shisham forests in central Himalaya, India: nutrient dynamics.
The structure and function of Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.) forests were investigated in relation to nutrient dynamics in 5- to 15-year-old stands growing in central Himalaya. Nutrient concentrations and storage in different layers of vegetation were in the order: tree > shrub > herb. Forest soil, litter and vegetation accounted for 80.1-91.9, 1.0-1.5 and 7.0-18.4%, respectively, of the total nutrients in the system. There were considerable reductions (trees 32.8-43.1; shrubs 26.2-32.4; and herbs 18-8-22-2%) in nutrient concentrations of leaves during senescence. Nutrient uptake by the vegetation as a whole and also by the different components, with and without adjustment for internal recycling, was investigated. Annual transfer of litter nutrients to the soil from vegetation was 74.8-108.4 kg ha(-1) year(-1) N, 56.8-4 kg ha(-1) year(-1) P and 38.7-46.9 kg ha(-1) year(-1) K. Turnover rate and time for different nutrients ranged between 56 and 66 % year(-1) and 1.5 and 1.8 years, respectively. The turnover rate of litter indicates that over 50% of nutrients in litter on the forest floor are released, which ultimately enhances the productivity of the forest stand. The nutrient use efficiency in Shisham forests ranged from 136 to 143 kg ha(-1) year(-1) for N, 1,441 to 1,570 kg ha(-1) year(-1) for P and 305 to 311 kg ha(-1) year(-1) for K. Compared with natural oak forest (265 kg ha(-1) year(-1) and an exotic eucalypt plantation (18 kg ha(-1) year(-1), a higher proportion of nutrients was retranslocated in Shisham forests, largely because of higher leaf tissue nutrient concentrations. This indicates a lower nutrient use efficiency of Shisham compared with eucalypt and oak. Compartment models for nutrient dynamics have been developed to represent the distribution of nutrients pools and net annual fluxes within the system. (+info)
How plants cope with water stress in the field. Photosynthesis and growth.
Plants are often subjected to periods of soil and atmospheric water deficit during their life cycle. The frequency of such phenomena is likely to increase in the future even outside today's arid/semi-arid regions. Plant responses to water scarcity are complex, involving deleterious and/or adaptive changes, and under field conditions these responses can be synergistically or antagonistically modified by the superimposition of other stresses. This complexity is illustrated using examples of woody and herbaceous species mostly from Mediterranean-type ecosystems, with strategies ranging from drought-avoidance, as in winter/spring annuals or in deep-rooted perennials, to the stress resistance of sclerophylls. Differences among species that can be traced to different capacities for water acquisition, rather than to differences in metabolism at a given water status, are described. Changes in the root : shoot ratio or the temporary accumulation of reserves in the stem are accompanied by alterations in nitrogen and carbon metabolism, the fine regulation of which is still largely unknown. At the leaf level, the dissipation of excitation energy through processes other than photosynthetic C-metabolism is an important defence mechanism under conditions of water stress and is accompanied by down-regulation of photochemistry and, in the longer term, of carbon metabolism. (+info)