An integrated view of whole-tree hydraulic architecture. Does stomatal or hydraulic conductance determine whole tree transpiration?

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Abstract

Hydraulic conductance exerts a strong influence on many aspects of plant physiology, namely: transpiration, CO2 assimilation, growth, productivity or stress response. However we lack full understanding of the contribution of root or shoot water transport capacity to the total water balance, something which is difficult to study in trees. Here we tested the hypothesis that whole plant hydraulic conductance modulates plant transpiration using two different seedlings of citrus rootstocks, Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. and Cleopatra mandarin (Citrus reshni Hort ex Tan.). The two genotypes presented important differences in their root or shoot hydraulic conductance contribution to whole plant hydraulic conductance but, even so, water balance proved highly dependent on whole plant conductance. Further, we propose there is a possible equilibrium between root and shoot hydraulic conductance, similar to that between shoot and root biomass production, which could be related with xylem anatomy.

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Rodríguez-Gamir, J., Primo-Millo, E., & Forner-Giner, M. Á. (2016). An integrated view of whole-tree hydraulic architecture. Does stomatal or hydraulic conductance determine whole tree transpiration? PLoS ONE, 11(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155246

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