Leaf habit affects the distribution of drought sensitivity but not water transport efficiency in the tropics

German Vargas Gutierrez, Norbert Kunert, William M. Hammond, Z. Carter Berry, Leland K. Werden, Chris M. Smith-Martin, Brett T. Wolfe, Laura Toro, Ariadna Mondragon Botero, Jesus N Pinto Ledezma, Naomi B. Schwartz, María Uriarte, Lawren Sack, Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira, Jennifer S. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Considering the global intensification of aridity in tropical biomes due to climate change, we need to understand what shapes the distribution of drought sensitivity in tropical plants. We conducted a pantropical data synthesis representing 1117 species to test whether xylem-specific hydraulic conductivity (KS), water potential at leaf turgor loss (ΨTLP) and water potential at 50% loss of KSP50) varied along climate gradients. The ΨTLP and ΨP50 increased with climatic moisture only for evergreen species, but KS did not. Species with high ΨTLP and ΨP50 values were associated with both dry and wet environments. However, drought-deciduous species showed high ΨTLP and ΨP50 values regardless of water availability, whereas evergreen species only in wet environments. All three traits showed a weak phylogenetic signal and a short half-life. These results suggest strong environmental controls on trait variance, which in turn is modulated by leaf habit along climatic moisture gradients in the tropics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2637-2650
Number of pages14
JournalEcology letters
Volume25
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to all the scientists, and field technicians who collected data on plant hydraulics in tropical regions. The authors are also thankful to the scientists and database managers who organised, and assembled the databases used in this manuscript: BIEN (https://bien.nceas.ucsb.edu/bien/), CHIRPS (https://www.chc.ucsb.edu/data/chirps), CGIAR-PET (https://cgiarcsi.community/data/global-aridity-and-pet-database/) and the xylem functional trait database (https://xylemfunctionaltraits.org/). We thank Professor Jeanine Cavender-Bares, Dr. Xue Feng, Dr. Daniel Stanton and the students in the Plant Physiology reading group in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota for discussing the preliminary results. This work was supported by two fellowships assigned to GVG for pursuing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship by the Graduate School and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change Scholar Fellowship. CMSM was supported by NSF award DEB- 1753810 to MU, and JSP was supported by the Department of Energy Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Program grant DE-SC0020344.

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to all the scientists, and field technicians who collected data on plant hydraulics in tropical regions. The authors are also thankful to the scientists and database managers who organised, and assembled the databases used in this manuscript: BIEN ( https://bien.nceas.ucsb.edu/bien/ ), CHIRPS ( https://www.chc.ucsb.edu/data/chirps ), CGIAR‐PET ( https://cgiarcsi.community/data/global‐aridity‐and‐pet‐database/ ) and the xylem functional trait database ( https://xylemfunctionaltraits.org/ ). We thank Professor Jeanine Cavender‐Bares, Dr. Xue Feng, Dr. Daniel Stanton and the students in the Plant Physiology reading group in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota for discussing the preliminary results. This work was supported by two fellowships assigned to GVG for pursuing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship by the Graduate School and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change Scholar Fellowship. CMSM was supported by NSF award DEB‐ 1753810 to MU, and JSP was supported by the Department of Energy Terrestrial Ecosystem Science Program grant DE‐SC0020344.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • aridity
  • pantropical
  • rainfall seasonality
  • turgor loss point
  • xylem hydraulic conductivity
  • xylem vulnerability to embolism

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