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Leaf morphological and physiological adaptations of a deciduous oak (Quercus faginea Lam.) to the Mediterranean climate: A comparison with a closely related temperate species (Quercus robur L.)

AutorPeguero Pina, José Javier; Sisó, Sergio; Sancho Knapik, Domingo; Díaz-Espejo, Antonio ; Flexas, Jaume; Galmés, Jeroni; Gil-Pelegrín, Eustaquio
Palabras claveLeaf area
Roburoid oaks
Stomatal conductance
Vapor pressure deficit
Fecha de publicaciónmar-2016
EditorOxford University Press
CitaciónTree Physiology 36(3) 287-299 (2016)
Resumen‘White oaks’—one of the main groups of the genus Quercus L.—are represented in western Eurasia by the ‘roburoid oaks’, a deciduous and closely related genetic group that should have an Arcto-Tertiary origin under temperate-nemoral climates. Nowadays, roburoid oak species such as Quercus robur L. are still present in these temperate climates in Europe, but others are also present in southern Europe under Mediterranean-type climates, such as Quercus faginea Lam. We hypothesize the existence of a coordinated functional response at the whole-shoot scale in Q. faginea under Mediterranean conditions to adapt to more xeric habitats. The results reveal a clear morphological and physiological segregation between Q. robur and Q. faginea, which constitute two very contrasting functional types in response to climate dryness. The most outstanding divergence between the two species is the reduction in transpiring area in Q. faginea, which is the main trait imposed by the water deficit in Mediterranean-type climates. The reduction in leaf area ratio in Q. faginea should have a negative effect on carbon gain that is partially counteracted by a higher inherent photosynthetic ability of Q. faginea when compared with Q. robur, as a consequence of higher mesophyll conductance, higher maximum velocity of carboxylation and much higher stomatal conductance (gs). The extremely high gs of Q. faginea counteracts the expected reduction in gs imposed by the stomatal sensitivity to vapor pressure deficit, allowing this species to diminish water losses maintaining high net CO2 assimilation values along the vegetative period under nonlimiting soil water potential values. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that Q. faginea can be regarded as an example of adaptation of a deciduous oak to Mediterranean-type climates.
Descripción13 páginas.-- 4 figuras.-- 7 tablas.-- 82 referencia.-- Supplementary data for this article are available at Tree Physiology Online. The authors are grateful to Emilio Roldán (UIB) for his help in determining leaf TSP and Rubisco content and to Arantxa Molins and Carmen Hermida (UIB) for rbcL sequencing.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpv107
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