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Continental-scale climatic drivers of growth ring variability in an Australian conifer


Bowman, DMJS and Prior, LD and Tng, DYP and Hua, Q and Brodribb, TJ, Continental-scale climatic drivers of growth ring variability in an Australian conifer, Trees: Structure and Function, 25, (5) pp. 925-934. ISSN 0931-1890 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 Springer-Verlag.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00468-011-0567-5


Callitris is Australia's most successful and drought tolerant conifer genus. Callitris species are distributed across a huge geographical range from rainforest to arid zones, and hence they provide a rare opportunity to view plant growth trends across the continent. Here, we make a continental-scale examination of how climate influences basal diameter growth in Callitris. We sampled a total of five species but focused effort (23 of 28 samples) on the most widespread species, C. columellaris. Cores from a total of 23 trees were sampled from 15 sites that spanned a gradient in mean annual rainfall from 225 to 2117 mm and mean annual temperature from 11.5 to 28.2 Celsius degree. Ring production is not annual across much of the distribution of the genus, so 14C-AMS dating was used to establish the frequency of ring production for each core. Ring width, tracheid lumen diameter and number of tracheids per ring were also measured on each core. Ring production was close to annual at mesic sites with reliable alternation of rainfall or temperature regimes but was more erratic elsewhere. For C. columellaris, ring width significantly increased with mean annual rainfall (r2 = 0.49) as a result of wider and more tracheids per ring. For this species tracheid lumen diameter was correlated with annual rainfall (r2 = 0.61), with a threefold increase from the driest to the wettest sites, lending support to the hypothesis that conifers growing at drier sites will have narrow lumen diameters to maximise mechanical strength of the xylem.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Callitris columellaris;Tree growth;Rainfall; Tracheids; Lumen diameter
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant biology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Tng, DYP (Dr David Tng)
UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
ID Code:75877
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2012-02-20
Last Modified:2022-08-25
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