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Herb and conifer roots show similar high sensitivity to water deficit


Bourbia, I and Pritzkow, C and Brodribb, TJ, Herb and conifer roots show similar high sensitivity to water deficit, Plant Physiology, 186, (4) pp. 1908-1918. ISSN 0032-0889 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 American Society of Plant Biologists

DOI: doi:10.1093/plphys/kiab207


Root systems play a major role in supplying the canopy with water, enabling photosynthesis and growth. Yet, much of the dynamic response of root hydraulics and its influence on gas exchange during soil drying and recovery remains uncertain. We examined the decline and recovery of the whole root hydraulic conductance (Kr) and canopy diffusive conductance (gc) during exposure to moderate water stress in two species with contrasting root systems: Tanacetum cinerariifolium (herbaceous Asteraceae) and Callitris rhomboidea (woody conifer). Optical dendrometers were used to record stem water potential at high temporal resolution and enabled non-invasive measurements of Kr calculated from the rapid relaxation kinetics of water potential in hydrating roots. We observed parallel declines in Kr and gc to <20% of unstressed levels during the early stages of water stress in both species. The recovery of Kr after rewatering differed between species. T. cinerariifolium recovered quickly, with 60% of Kr recovered within 2 h, while C. rhomboidea was much slower to return to its original Kr. Recovery of gc followed a similar trend to Kr in both species, with C. rhomboidea slower to recover. Our findings suggest that the pronounced sensitivity of Kr to drought is a common feature among different plant species, but recovery may vary depending on root type and water stress severity. Kr dynamics are proposed to modulate gc response during and following drought.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:conifer, herb, root systems, water deficit
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable plant production
Objective Field:Management of water consumption by plant production
UTAS Author:Bourbia, I (Mr Ibrahim Bourbia)
UTAS Author:Pritzkow, C (Ms Carola Pritzkow)
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
ID Code:146707
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP170100103)
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-09-22
Last Modified:2022-08-20

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