Tropical wet and dry forest tree species exhibit contrasting hydraulic architecture

Apgaua, Deborah M.G., Tng, David Y.P., and Laurance, Susan G.W (2022) Tropical wet and dry forest tree species exhibit contrasting hydraulic architecture. Flora, 291. 152072.

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Forest tree species in wet and dry habitats are generally considered functionally divergent in leaf and stem functional traits such as leaf area, leaf mass per area, wood density and tree height. Yet, these traits have limited utility for characterizing plant water transport adaptations and strategies. We tested the hypothesis that wet and dry forest trees are functionally divergent in their water conducting apparatus. To assess trait differences and adaptations, we sampled branch wood from nine same-genus species-pairs, each species-pair occurring respectively in the wet (>1500 mm annual rainfall) and dry forest (<800 mm annual rainfall) in tropical Queensland, Australia. From branch wood sections, we measured anatomical traits involved in water conduction (stem vessel dimensions, fractions and their spatial distributions, theoretical water conductivities), storage (parenchyma), and providing hydraulic safety functions (fibres fractions, vulnerability index). Relative to wet forest species, we found on overall that dry forest trees had trait combinations showing adaptations to aridity such as more storage tissue and greater vessel connectivity which may provide alternative pathways for water transport should vessel embolism occur. Habitat is an environmental filter that influences trait behaviour across related species. However, depending on the genera, species in both dry and wet forest habitats also exhibit various tradeoffs in trait values, highlighting the existence of diverse hydraulic strategies within wet forest and dry forest trees.

Item ID: 76158
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1618-0585
Keywords: Comparative ecology, Congenerics, Functional anatomy, Plant hydraulics, Rainforest, Seasonally dry tropical forest, Xylem anatomy
Copyright Information: © 2022 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC FT130101319
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2022 05:07
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310308 Terrestrial ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems @ 100%
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