To test whether drought and ABA application alter the effects of enhanced UV-B on the growth and biomass allocation of Populus yunnanensis Dode, cuttings were grown in pots at two ABA levels, two watering regimes and two UV-B levels for one growth season. Exposure to enhanced UV-B radiation significantly decreased plant growth and photosynthesis under well-watered conditions, but these effects were obscured by drought, which alone caused growth reduction. Drought may contribute to masking the effects of UV-B radiation. The accumulation of UV-B absorbing compounds and the increase of the ABA content induced by drought could reduce the effectiveness of UV-B radiation. ABA application did not have large direct effects on biomass accumulation and allocation. Evidence for interactions between UV-B and ABA was detected for only a few measured traits. Therefore, there was little evidence to support a pivotal role for ABA in regulating a centralized whole plant response to enhanced UV-B. Yet, we recorded an ABA-induced decrease in stomatal conductance (g(s)) and increase in UV-B absorbing compounds and carbon isotope composition (delta(13)C) in response to enhanced UV-B. The allometric analysis revealed that regression models between root and shoot biomass in response to enhanced UV-B are different for plants under well-watered and drought conditions. Enhanced UV-B led to a significant displacement of the allometric regression line under well-watered condition, while allometric trajectories for both UV-B regimes did not differ significantly under drought condition.
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