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Extreme aridity pushes trees to their physical limits


Larter, M and Brodribb, TJ and Pfautsch, S and Burlett, R and Cochard, H and Delzon, S, Extreme aridity pushes trees to their physical limits, Plant Physiology, 168, (3) pp. 804-807. ISSN 0032-0889 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American Society of Plant Biologists

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DOI: doi:10.​1104/​pp.​15.​00223


Drought-induced hydraulic failure is a leading cause of mortality of trees (McDowell et al., 2008; Anderegg et al., 2012) and has become a major concern in light of future climate predictions, with forests across the world showing signs of vulnerability to intense and prolonged drought events (Allen et al., 2010). We show here that Callitris tuberculata, a conifer species from extremely dry areas of Western Australia, is the most cavitation-resistant tree species in the world to date (mean xylem pressure leading to 50% loss of hydraulic function [P50] = −18.8 MPa). Hydraulic conductance is maintained in these plants at pressures remarkably close to the practical limit of water metastability, suggesting that liquid water transport under the cohesion-tension theory has reached its operational boundary.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:drought, hydraulics, water transport, evolution
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
ID Code:110779
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT100100237)
Web of Science® Times Cited:39
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2016-08-12
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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