Photosynthesis, water relations, and leaf morphology of xeric versus mesic Quercus rubra ecotypes in central Pennsylvania in relation to moisture stress

M. E. Kubiske, M. D. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seedlings from xeric sites had higher photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance to water vapor than mesic seedlings during well-watered conditions. During a drought cycle, xeric seedlings maintained positive net photosynthesis at significantly lower predawn leaf water potential and relative water content. Mesic seedlings exhibited greater intrasource variation in gas exchange during drought, which may be related to reduced selection pressure for drought tolerance characteristics on the mesic site or to gene flow from the adjacent, upslope xeric site. Nonstomatal limitations to photosynthesis increased during drought and accounted for 98% of the reduction in photosynthesis as both sources approached incipient wilting. Xeric seedlings exhibited less nonstomatal inhibition of photosynthesis during early and midstages of drought, suggesting a greater tolerance of the photosynthetic apparatus for tissue water deficit. Xeric seedlings also exhibited the expected leaf morphological characteristics, which included smaller leaf area and greater leaf thickness and specific leaf mass. Red oak growing on adjacent sites in central Pennsylvania exhibit ecotypic differences in ecophysiology consistent with site moisture conditions. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1402-1407
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume22
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Ecology

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