Seedlings of four populations each of Pinus pinaster, P. halepensis, P. canariensis and P. pinea were grown in controlled conditions to evaluate both inter- and intra-specific differences in response to watering. We submitted half of the plants to a moderate water stress and after 22 weeks, we recorded height, stem diameter and root, stem and leaves dry weight. Patterns and amounts of phenotypic changes, including changes in biomass allocation, were analysed.We found a scant response in P. canariensis, P. pinaster and P. halepensis presented high population divergence for phenotypic changes, and P. pinea showed marked allocational shifts and no population divergence. The phenotypic changes observed within species are interpreted as a plastic response. The variation encountered within P. halepensis and P. pinaster may be indicative of specialisation to either resource-rich or resource-poor habitats, being populations from favourable sites more plastic. P. pinea exhibited a very uniform plastic response, indicating generalist behaviour.
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