Xylem Embolism (xylem + embolism)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Freeze,thaw-induced embolism in Pinus contorta: centrifuge experiments validate the ,thaw-expansion hypothesis' but conflict with ultrasonic emission data

Stefan Mayr
Summary ,The ,thaw-expansion hypothesis' postulates that xylem embolism is caused by the formation of gas bubbles on freezing and their expansion on thawing. We evaluated the hypothesis using centrifuge experiments and ultrasonic emission monitoring in Pinus contorta. ,Stem samples were exposed to freeze,thaw cycles at varying xylem pressure (P) in a centrifuge before the percentage loss of hydraulic conductivity (PLC) was measured. Ultrasonic acoustic emissions were registered on samples exposed to freeze,thaw cycles in a temperature chamber. ,Freeze,thaw exposure of samples spun at ,3 MPa induced a PLC of 32% (one frost cycle) and 50% (two cycles). An increase in P to ,0.5 MPa during freezing had no PLC effect, whereas increased P during thaw lowered PLC to 7%. Ultrasonic acoustic emissions were observed during freezing and thawing at ,3 MPa, but not in air-dried or water-saturated samples. A decrease in minimum temperature caused additional ultrasonic acoustic emissions, but had no effect on PLC. ,The centrifuge experiments indicate that the ,thaw-expansion hypothesis' correctly describes the embolization process. Possible explanations for the increase in PLC on repeated frost cycles and for the ultrasonic acoustic emissions observed during freezing and with decreasing ice temperature are discussed. [source]

Capacitive effect of cavitation in xylem conduits: results from a dynamic model

ABSTRACT Embolisms decrease plant hydraulic conductance and therefore reduce the ability of the xylem to transport water to leaves provided that embolized conduits are not refilled. However, as a xylem conduit is filled with gas during cavitation, water is freed to the transpiration stream and this transiently increases xylem water potential. This capacitive effect of embolism formation on plant function has not been explicitly quantified in the past. A dynamic model is presented that models xylem water potential, xylem sap flow and cavitation, taking into account both the decreasing hydraulic conductance and the water release effect of xylem embolism. The significance of the capacitive effect increases in relation to the decreasing hydraulic conductance effect when transpiration rate is low in relation to the total amount of water in xylem conduits. This ratio is typically large in large trees and during drought. [source]

The Ball,Berry,Leuning and Tardieu,Davies stomatal models: synthesis and extension within a spatially aggregated picture of guard cell function

R. C. Dewar
Abstract A new model of stomatal conductance is proposed which combines the essential features of the Ball,Berry,Leuning (BBL) and Tardieu,Davies (TD) models within a simple spatially aggregated picture of guard cell function. The model thus provides a coherent description of stomatal responses to both air and soil environments. The model also presents some novel features not included in either the BBL or TD models: stomatal sensing of intercellular (rather than leaf surface) CO2 concentration; an explanation of all three observed regimes (A, B and C) of the stomatal response to air humidity (Monteith Plant, Cell and Environment 18, 357,364, 1995); incorporation of xylem embolism; and maintenance of hydraulic homeostasis by combined hydraulic and chemical signalling in leaves (in which leaf epidermal hydraulic conductivity plays a key role). Significantly, maintenance of hydraulic homeostasis in the model does not require a direct feedback signal from xylem embolism, the predicted minimum leaf water potential being independent of xylem hydraulic conductivity. It is suggested that stomatal regulation through combined hydraulic and chemical signalling in leaves and/or roots provides a general mechanism enabling plants to maintain their water potentials above a minimum value. Natural selection of the key stomatal parameters would then set the minimum potential to a specific value determined by the most vulnerable plant process under water stress (e.g. cell growth, protein synthesis or xylem cavitation), depending on species and growth conditions. [source]

Age-related decline in stand productivity: the role of structural acclimation under hydraulic constraints

F. Magnani
ABSTRACT The decline in above-ground net primary productivity (Pa) that is usually observed in forest stands has been variously attributed to respiration, nutrient or hydraulic limitations. A novel model is proposed to explain the phenomenon and the co-occurring changes in the balance between foliage, conducting sapwood and fine roots. The model is based on the hypothesis that a functional homeostasis in water transport is maintained irrespective of age: hydraulic resistances through the plant must be finely tuned to transpiration rates so as to avoid extremely negative water potentials that could result in diffuse xylem embolism and foliage dieback, in agreement with experimental evidence. As the plant grows taller, allocation is predicted to shift from foliage to transport tissues, most notably to fine roots. Higher respiration and fine root turnover would result in the observed decline in Pa. The predictions of the model have been compared with experimental data from a chronosequence of Pinus sylvestris stands. The observed reduction in Pa is conveniently explained by concurrent modifications in leaf area index and plant structure. Changes in allometry and shoot hydraulic conductance with age are successfully predicted by the principle of functional homeostasis. [source]