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Morphological and physiological divergences within Quercus ilex support the existence of different ecotypes depending on climatic dryness

AutorPeguero Pina, José Javier; Sancho Knapik, Domingo; Barrón, Eduardo; Camarero, Jesús Julio ; Vilagrosa, Alberto; Gil-Pelegrín, Eustaquio
Palabras claveholm oak
functional traits
Mediterranean vegetation
ilex morphotype
rotundifoli’ morphotype
Quercus ilex
Fecha de publicación2014
EditorOxford University Press
CitaciónAnnals of Botany 114(2): 301-313 (2014)
ResumenBackground and Aims Several studies show apparently contradictory findings about the functional convergence within the Mediterranean woody flora. In this context, this study evaluates the variability of functional traits within holm oak (Quercus ilex) to elucidate whether provenances corresponding to different morphotypes represent different ecotypes locally adapted to the prevaling stress levels. Methods Several morphological and physiological traits were measured at leaf and shoot levels in 9-year-old seedlings of seven Q. ilex provenances including all recognized morphotypes. Plants were grown in a common garden for 9 years under the same environmental conditions to avoid possible biases due to site-specific characteristics. Key Results Leaf morphometry clearly separates holm oak provenances into 'ilex' (more elongated leaves with low vein density) and 'rotundifolia' (short and rounded leaves with high vein density) morphotypes. Moreover, these morphotypes represent two consistent and very contrasting functional types in response to dry climates, mainly in terms of leaf area, major vein density, leaf specific conductivity, resistance to drought-induced cavitation and turgor loss point. Conclusions The 'ilex' and 'rotundifolia' morphotypes correspond to different ecotypes as inferred from their contrasting functional traits. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the combined use of morphological and physiological traits has provided support for the concept of these two holm oak morphotypes being regarded as two different species. © 2014 The Author 2014.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcu108
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1093/aob/mcu108
issn: 1095-8290
e-issn: 1365-2745
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