The influence of present-day levels of ultraviolet-B radiation on seedlings of two Southern Hemisphere temperate tree species
Hunt, JE and McNeil, DL, The influence of present-day levels of ultraviolet-B radiation on seedlings of two Southern Hemisphere temperate tree species, Plant Ecology, 143(1): pp. 39-50. ISSN 1385-0237 (1999) [Refereed Article]
Seedlings of two Southern Hemisphere temperate trees species (mountain beech: Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides (Hook. f.) Poole and broadleaf: Griselinia littoralis Raoul) were grown in the field to determine the effects of present-day levels of ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) on growth, biomass, UV-B absorbing compounds, leaf optical properties and photoinhibition. Plants were covered with either UV-B transmitting or UV-B absorbing filters. After 125 days of typical summer weather, total biomass of both species was not affected by the UVB treatments. Without UV-B, height increased (23%) and the number of leaves produced decreased (-21%) in beech, but broadleaf was unaffected. The effect of UV-B on beech height and leaf number was manifest during a second flush of leaves suggesting differences in response to UV-B of leaves initiated in different seasons and UV-B radiation regimes. Leaves of both species were essentially opaque to the transmission of UV-B. In the absence of UV-B the transmission of photosynthetically active radiation through leaves of both species increased, foliar nitrogen concentrations increased and levels of UV-B absorbing compounds decreased. In the youngest leaves of beech but not of broadleaf, removal of UV-B reduced midday photoinhibition, and did not alter the complete recovery of the fluorescence ratio F(V)/F(M) in the evening to predawn levels. As leaves of both species aged, midday photoinhibition decreased, with the result that UV-B had no effect on photoinhibition in mature leaves. Results of this experiment show that even under present-day UV-B levels, UV-B radiation modifies the physiology, optical properties and secondary compounds of leaves of both beech and broadleaf seedlings.