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Xylem hydraulic physiology: The functional backbone of terrestrial plant productivity


Brodribb, TJ, Xylem hydraulic physiology: The functional backbone of terrestrial plant productivity, Plant Science: An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology, 177, (4) pp. 245-251. ISSN 0168-9452 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.plantsci.2009.06.001


Land plants are completely dependent on a passive system of water transport for their survival. The great bulk of the xylemtissue is non-living and consequently has no short term capacity to acclimate or adjust to changes in hydraulic demand. Yet there exists an extraordinary degree of coordination between the hydraulic and photosynthetic systems of plants that defies developmental explanation. The connection between hydraulic capacity and photosynthetic assimilation arises as a product of the shared stomatal pathway for water and CO2 exchange in the leaf. A combination of optimization in both water use and structural xylem investment has led to a situation in vascular plants where the form and function of all individuals is moulded by the link between hydraulic and photosynthetic systems. Unlike competing models of hormonal control of gas exchange, hydraulic limitation of productivity under optimal and drought conditions accounts for much of the observed variation in plant gas exchange in natural systems. The plant water transport system places a hard physical limit to plant productivity and survival. Identifying the developmental control of key xylem traits will yield the potential for achieving new performance capabilities in plants.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Xylem Development ABA, Stomata Photosynthesis Drought Transpiration Hydraulic
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Biological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
ID Code:62063
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:195
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2010-03-09
Last Modified:2010-05-10
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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