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Xylem embolism spreads by single-conduit events in three dry forest angiosperm stems


Johnson, KM and Brodersen, C and Carins-Murphy, MR and Choat, B and Brodribb, TJ, Xylem embolism spreads by single-conduit events in three dry forest angiosperm stems, Plant Physiology, 184, (1) pp. 212-222. ISSN 0032-0889 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1104/pp.20.00464


Xylem cavitation resulting in air embolism is a major cause of plant death during drought, yet the spread of embolism throughout the plant water transport system is poorly understood. Our study used optical visualization and x-ray microcomputed tomography imaging to capture the spread of emboli in stems of three drought-resistant angiosperm trees: drooping she-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata), black wattle (Acacia mearnsii), and blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus). These species have similar degrees of xylem network connectivity (vessel grouping) with largely solitary vessels. The high temporal resolution of the optical vulnerability technique revealed that in current year branches, >80% of the cavitation events were discrete, temporally separated events in single vessels. This suggests that in xylem networks with low connectivity, embolism spread between conduits leading to multiple conduit cavitation events is uncommon. A. mearnsii showed both the highest number of multivessel cavitation events and the highest degree of vessel connectivity, suggesting a link between vessel arrangement and embolism spread. Knowledge of embolism spread will help us to uncover the links between xylem anatomy, arrangement, and the path of water flow in the xylem in diverse species to ultimately understand the drivers of cavitation and plant vulnerability to drough

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cavitation, drought, trees, xylem, networks, conductivity
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:Johnson, KM (Ms Kate Johnson)
UTAS Author:Carins-Murphy, MR (Miss Madeline Carins-Murphy)
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
ID Code:141012
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2020-09-18
Last Modified:2022-08-20

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