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Gender, season and habitat: Patterns of variation in photosynthetic activity, growth and fecundity in Thymelaea velutina

AuthorsBandera, Mari Carmen de la; Traveset, Anna ; Valladares Ros, Fernando ; Gulías, Javier
KeywordsBalearic Islands
Chlorophyll fluorescence
Photochemical efficiency
Thymelaea velutina
Abiotic stress
Issue DateNov-2008
CitationActa Oecologica 34(3): 294-302 (2008)
AbstractChanges in the ecophysiological performance of a plant species due to different environmental conditions generally reflect adaptations to the habitat where the plant grows and are often related to its survival capacity in a particular place. We examined this with the dioecious shrub Thymelaea velutina, in two contrasting populations representing the extremes of the altitudinal gradient where the species lives (coastal dunes and mountain habitats over 1000 m). We measured net photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance, estimated the level of plant stress by chlorophyll fluorescence, and assessed their correlations with growth rate, plant size, flower production and fruit set. We hypothesized that plants at high altitude were more photosynthetically stressed than at sea level and expected a gender × habitat interaction in performance as females need more resources than males. Plants in the mountain experienced chronic photoinhibition during winter and a reduced photosynthetic performance both in winter and spring compared to plants in coastal dunes. However, there was no association between any of the fluorescence variables and either plant growth or fecundity, suggesting that other factors are involved determining performance. Mountain plants showed also an apparent lower capacity of heat dissipation to excessive radiation than dune plants. In the dunes, the greater leaf area and mass can lead to a higher photosynthetic carbon gain by whole individuals compared to plants in the mountain. No effect of gender was detected on the ecophysiological performance of this species, which we partly attribute to the small size of fruits of the female plants. © 2008 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2008.06.002
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.actao.2008.06.002
issn: 1146-609X
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(IMEDEA) Artículos
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