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Soil water potential does not affect leaf morphology or cuticular characters important for palaeo-environmental reconstructions in southern beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii (Nothofagaceae)

Citation

Hovenden, MJ and Vander Schoor, JK, Soil water potential does not affect leaf morphology or cuticular characters important for palaeo-environmental reconstructions in southern beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii (Nothofagaceae), Australian Journal of Botany, 60, (2) pp. 87-95. ISSN 0067-1924 (2012) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/BT11286

Abstract

Leaf form is closely related to local prevailing abiotic conditions and thus the morphology of fossil and sub-fossil leaves is often used to reconstruct both historical and palaeo-environmental conditions. However, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction is difficult because leaf form is controlled potentially by many interacting environmental factors such as temperature, CO2 concentration, light and water availability. We used a glasshouse trial to investigate the impact of water availability on the leaf and cuticle morphology of a species important for palaeo-environmental reconstruction, the southern beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii. We found that reducing soil water potential to 0.2 or 0.5 MPa had no impact on leaf form or cuticular characters, despite reducing leaf carbon assimilation and severely restricting plant growth. Although plant accession affected many leaf characters, there were few significant impacts of altitude of origin and no substantial interactions between altitude of origin and soil water potential. Thus, both cuticular and gross leaf morphology seem to be stable across a range of soil water potentials in this species, meaning that palaeoenvironmental signals from this species are unlikely to be affected by changes in water availability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:leaf morphology, fossil, cuticle, water availability, palaeoecology, climate change
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant Biology
Research Field:Plant Physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
Author:Hovenden, MJ (Associate Professor Mark Hovenden)
Author:Vander Schoor, JK (Mrs Jacqueline Vander Schoor)
ID Code:79112
Year Published:2012
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (F19700262)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2012-08-17
Last Modified:2013-05-13
Downloads:0

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