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Title

Functional traits related to seedling performance in the Mediterranean leguminous shrub RETAMA SPHAEROCARPA: Insights from a provenance, fertilization, and rhizobial inoculation study

AuthorsVillar Salvador, Pedro; Valladares Ros, Fernando CSIC ORCID ; Domínguez Lerena, Susana; Ruiz Díez, Beatriz CSIC; Fernández-Pascual, Mercedes CSIC ; Delgado Huertas, Antonio CSIC ORCID ; Peñuelas, Juan Luis
KeywordsCarotenoids
Nodulation
RAPD
Revegetation
RGR
Seed source
Survival
Issue Date2008
PublisherElsevier
CitationEnvironmental Experimental Botany 64: 145-154 (2008)
AbstractWe studied functional traits related to survival and growth in seedlings of the Mediterranean leguminous shrub Retama sphaerocarpa (L.) Boiss. Plants from five provenances were grown at two contrasting fertilization rates. In one of the provenances, low-fertilized plants were also inoculated with a Bradyrhizobium strain to assess the influence of nodulation on seedling performance. Seedlingswere transplanted onto an abandoned cropland and their growth and survival rates were measured for two years. Additionally, the persistence of the inoculated strain in the fieldwas tracked using genetic methods. Fertilization produced two phenotypes of contrasting performance. High fertilization produced large plants with high nutrient concentration, photosynthetic rate, and root growth capacity. Plants with this phenotype had higher transplanting survival, growth, andwater use efficiency than the plants of the low-fertilized phenotype, which were small and had lownutrient concentration, photosynthetic rate and root growthcapacity. Provenances differed in relative growth rate (RGR) under optimal growing conditions and these differenceswere negatively related to the length of the growing season and positively related to the precipitation at the places of origin of seeds. Across provenances, transplanting survival and growthwas positively related to the shoot carotenoid concentration. However, this relationship was only observed among low-fertilized seedlings. Among low-fertilized plants, nodulation did not increase either transplanting survival or growth significantly. The Bradyrhizobium strain used to inoculate seedlings survived at least two years in transplanted inoculated plants in spite of the presence of other native rhizobial strains in the field. In conclusion, high transplanting performance of R. sphaerocarpa seedlings is linked to a suite of attributes that promote fast seedling establishment during the wet season, which probably enhances drought avoidance during the dry season and helps avoid photoinhibition during the summer drought.
Description10 pages, figures, and tables statistics.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envexphot.2008.04.005
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/29174
DOI10.1016/j.envexpbot.2008.04.005
ISSN0098-8472
Appears in Collections:(ICA) Artículos
(IRN) Artículos

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