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Linking xylem network failure with leaf tissue death


Brodribb, T and Brodersen, CR and Carriqui, M and Tonet, V and Rodriguez Dominguez, C and McAdam, S, Linking xylem network failure with leaf tissue death, New Phytologist, 232, (1) pp. 68-70. ISSN 1469-8137 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1111/nph.17577


  • Global warming is expected to dramatically accelerate forest mortality as temperature and drought intensity increase. Predicting the magnitude of this impact urgently requires an understanding of the process connecting atmospheric drying to plant tissue damage. Recent episodes of forest mortality worldwide have been widely attributed to dry conditions causing acute damage to plant vascular systems. Under this scenario vascular embolisms produced by water stress are thought to cause plant death, yet this hypothetical trajectory has never been empirically demonstrated.
  • Here we provide foundational evidence connecting failure in the vascular network of leaves with tissue damage caused during water stress.
  • We observe a catastrophic sequence initiated by water column breakage under tension in leaf veins which severs local leaf tissue water supply, immediately causing acute cellular dehydration and irreversible damage.
  • By highlighting the primacy of vascular network failure in the death of leaves exposed to drought or evaporative stress our results provide a strong mechanistic foundation upon which models of plant damage in response to dehydration can be confidently structured.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:drought, mortality, stomata, tissue damage, xylem cavitation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Brodribb, T (Professor Tim Brodribb)
UTAS Author:Carriqui, M (Mr Marc Carriqui Alcover)
UTAS Author:Tonet, V (Ms Vanessa Tonet)
ID Code:146705
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP190101552)
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-09-22
Last Modified:2022-08-20

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