Background and Aims
Studies on xylogenesis focus essentially on the stem, whereas there is basically no information about the intra-annual growth of other parts of the tree. As roots strongly influence carbon allocation and tree development, knowledge of the dynamics of xylem production and maturation in roots at a short time scale is required for a better understanding of the phenomenon of tree growth. This study compared cambial activity and xylem formation in stem and roots in two conifers of the boreal forest in Canada.
Wood microcores were collected weekly in stem and roots of ten Abies balsamea and ten Picea mariana during the 2004–2006 growing seasons. Cross-sections were cut using a rotary microtome, stained with cresyl violet acetate and observed under visible and polarized light. The number of cells in the cambial zone and in differentiation, plus the number of mature cells, was counted along the developing xylem.
Xylem formation lasted from the end of May to the end of September, with no difference between stem and roots in 2004–2005. On the contrary, in 2006 a 1-week earlier beginning of cell differentiation was observed in the stem, with cell wall thickening and lignification in roots ending up to 22 d later than in the stem. Cell production in the stem was concentrated early in the season, in June, while most cell divisions in roots occurred 1 month later.
The intra-annual dynamics of growth observed in stem and roots could be related to the different amount of cells produced by the cambium and the patterns of air and soil temperature occurring in spring.
Abies balsamea; boreal forest; cambium; cell differentiation; cell wall thickening; lignification; Picea mariana; root; stem; xylem
• Background and Aims The effect of heating and cooling on cambial activity and cell differentiation in part of the stem of Norway spruce (Picea abies) was investigated.
• Methods A heating experiment (23–25 °C) was carried out in spring, before normal reactivation of the cambium, and cooling (9–11 °C) at the height of cambial activity in summer. The cambium, xylem and phloem were investigated by means of light- and transmission electron microscopy and UV-microspectrophotometry in tissues sampled from living trees.
• Key Results Localized heating for 10 d initiated cambial divisions on the phloem side and after 20 d also on the xylem side. In a control tree, regular cambial activity started after 30 d. In the heat-treated sample, up to 15 earlywood cells undergoing differentiation were found to be present. The response of the cambium to stem cooling was less pronounced, and no anatomical differences were detected between the control and cool-treated samples after 10 or 20 d. After 30 d, latewood started to form in the sample exposed to cooling. In addition, almost no radially expanding tracheids were observed and the cambium consisted of only five layers of cells. Low temperatures reduced cambial activity, as indicated by the decreased proportion of latewood. On the phloem side, no alterations were observed among cool-treated and non-treated samples.
• Conclusions Heating and cooling can influence cambial activity and cell differentiation in Norway spruce. However, at the ultrastructural and topochemical levels, no changes were observed in the pattern of secondary cell-wall formation and lignification or in lignin structure, respectively.
Norway spruce; Picea abies; cambium; xylem; phloem; cell differentiation; heating; cooling; light microscopy; transmission electron microscopy; UV-microspectrophotometry
Background and Aims
Our knowledge about the influences of environmental factors on tree growth is principally based on the study of dominant trees. However, tree social status may influence intra-annual dynamics of growth, leading to differential responses to environmental conditions. The aim was to determine whether within-stand differences in stem diameters of trees belonging to different crown classes resulted from variations in the length of the growing period or in the rate of cell production.
Cambial activity was monitored weekly in 2006 for three crown classes in a 40-year-old silver-fir (Abies alba) plantation near Nancy (France). Timings, duration and rate of tracheid production were assessed from anatomical observations of the developing xylem.
Cambial activity started earlier, stopped later and lasted longer in dominant trees than in intermediate and suppressed ones. The onset of cambial activity was estimated to have taken 3 weeks to spread to 90 % of the trees in the stand, while the cessation needed 6 weeks. Cambial activity was more intense in dominant trees than in intermediate and suppressed ones. It was estimated that about 75 % of tree-ring width variability was attributable to the rate of cell production and only 25 % to its duration. Moreover, growth duration was correlated to tree height, while growth rate was better correlated to crown area.
These results show that, in a closed conifer forest, stem diameter variations resulted principally from differences in the rate of xylem cell production rather than in its duration. Tree size interacts with environmental factors to control the timings, duration and rate of cambial activity through functional processes involving source–sink relationships principally, but also hormonal controls.
Cambial activity; forest-stand structure; silver fir (Abies alba); tree-ring formation; tree-to-tree competition; social status; wood anatomy; xylem cell differentiation
Dendroclimatological studies in a dry inner Alpine environment (750 m a.s.l.) revealed different growth response of co-occurring coniferous species to climate, which is assumed to be caused by a temporal shift in wood formation among species. The main focus of this study therefore was to monitor intra-annual dynamics of radial increment growth of mature deciduous and evergreen coniferous species (Pinus sylvestris, Larix decidua and Picea abies) during two consecutive years with contrasting climatic conditions. Radial stem growth was continuously followed by band dendrometers and modelled using Gompertz functions to determine time of maximum growth. Histological analyses of tree ring formation allowed determination of temporal dynamics of cambial activity and xylem cell development. Daily fluctuations in stem radius and radial stem increments were extracted from dendrometer traces, and correlations with environmental variables were performed. While a shift in temporal dynamics of radial growth onset and cessation was detected among co-occurring species, intra-annual radial growth peaked synchronously in late May 2011 and early June 2012. Moist atmospheric conditions, i.e. high relative air humidity, low vapour pressure deficit and low air temperature during the main growing period, favoured radial stem increment of all species. Soil water content and soil temperature were not significantly related to radial growth. Although a temporal shift in onset and cessation of wood formation was detected among species, synchronous culmination of radial growth indicates homogenous exogenous and/or endogenous control. The close coupling of radial growth to atmospheric conditions points to the importance of stem water status for intra-annual growth of drought-prone conifers.
Cambial activity; Climate–growth relationship; Conifers; Dendrometer; Drought; Intra-annual radial growth
Background and Aims
Cambial reactivation in trees occurs from late winter to early spring when photosynthesis is minimal or almost non-existent. Reserve materials might be important for wood formation in trees. The localization and approximate levels of starch and lipids (as droplets) and number of starch granules in cambium and phloem were examined from cambial dormancy to the start of xylem differentiation in locally heated stems of Cryptomeria japonica trees in winter.
Electric heating tape was wrapped on one side of the stem of Cryptomeria japonica trees at breast height in winter. The localization and approximate levels of starch and lipids (as droplets) and number of starch granules were determined by image analysis of optical digital images obtained by confocal laser scanning microscopy.
Localized heating induced earlier cambial reactivation and xylem differentiation in stems of Cryptomeria japonica, as compared with non-heated stems. There were clear changes in the respective localizations and levels of starch and lipids (as droplets) determined in terms of relative areas on images, from cambial dormancy to the start of xylem differentiation in heated stems. In heated stems, the levels and number of starch granules fell from cambial reactivation to the start of xylem differentiation. There was a significant decrease in the relative area occupied by lipid droplets in the cambium from cambial reactivation to the start of xylem differentiation in heated stems.
The results showed clearly that the levels and number of storage starch granules in cambium and phloem cells and levels of lipids (as droplets) in the cambium decreased from cambial reactivation to the start of xylem differentiation in heated stems during the winter. The observations suggest that starch and lipid droplets might be needed as sources of energy for the initiation of cambial cell division and the differentiation of xylem in Cryptomeria japonica.
Cambial reactivation; confocal laser scanning microscopy; Cryptomeria japonica; lipid; starch; xylem differentiation
Background and Aims
Latewood formation in conifers occurs during the later part of the growing season, when the cell division activity of the cambium declines. Changes in temperature might be important for wood formation in trees. Therefore, the effects of a rapid decrease in temperature on cellular morphology of tracheids were investigated in localized heating-induced cambial reactivation in Cryptomeria japonica trees and in Abies firma seedlings.
Electric heating tape and heating ribbon were wrapped on the stems of C. japonica trees and A. firma seedlings. Heating was discontinued when 11 or 12 and eight or nine radial files of differentiating and differentiated tracheids had been produced in C. japonica and A. firma stems, respectively. Tracheid diameter, cell wall thickness, percentage of cell wall area and percentage of lumen area were determined by image analysis of transverse sections and scanning electron microscopy.
Localized heating induced earlier cambial reactivation and xylem differentiation in stems of C. japonica and A. firma as compared with non-heated stems. One week after cessation of heating, there were no obvious changes in the dimensions of the differentiating tracheids in the samples from adult C. japonica. In contrast, tracheids with a smaller diameter were observed in A. firma seedlings after 1 week of cessation of heating. Two or three weeks after cessation of heating, tracheids with reduced diameters and thickened cell walls were found. The results showed that the rapid decrease in temperature produced slender tracheids with obvious thickening of cell walls that resembled latewood cells.
The results suggest that a localized decrease in temperature of stems induces changes in the diameter and cell wall thickness of differentiating tracheids, indicating that cambium and its derivatives can respond directly to changes in temperature.
Cambial activity; conifers; latewood formation; morphology of tracheids; rapid decrease in temperature
Background and Aims
The timing of cambial reactivation plays an important role in the control of both the quantity and the quality of wood. The effect of localized heating on cambial reactivation in the main stem of a deciduous hardwood hybrid poplar (Populus sieboldii × P. grandidentata) was investigated.
Electric heating tape (20–22 °C) was wrapped at one side of the main stem of cloned hybrid poplar trees at breast height in winter. Small blocks were collected from both heated and non-heated control portions of the stem for sequential observations of cambial activity and for studies of the localization of storage starch around the cambium from dormancy to reactivation by light microscopy.
Cell division in phloem began earlier than cambial reactivation in locally heated portions of stems. Moreover, the cambial reactivation induced by localized heating occurred earlier than natural cambial reactivation. In heated stems, well-developed secondary xylem was produced that had almost the same structure as the natural xylem. When cambial reactivation was induced by heating, the buds of trees had not yet burst, indicating that there was no close temporal relationship between bud burst and cambial reactivation. In heated stems, the amount of storage starch decreased near the cambium upon reactivation of the cambium. After cambial reactivation, storage starch disappeared completely. Storage starch appeared again, near the cambium, during xylem differentiation in heated stems.
The results suggest that, in deciduous diffuse-porous hardwood poplar growing in a temperate zone, the temperature in the stem is a limiting factor for reactivation of phloem and cambium. An increase in temperature might induce the conversion of storage starch to sucrose for the activation of cambial cell division and secondary xylem. Localized heating in poplar stems provides a useful experimental system for studies of cambial biology.
Populus sieboldii × Populus grandidentata; localized heating, cambial reactivation; model system; storage starch; xylem differentiation
We tested the effects of growth characteristics and basic density on hydraulic and mechanical properties of mature Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) wood from six 24-year-old clones, grown on two sites in southern Sweden differing in water availability. Hydraulic parameters assessed were specific hydraulic conductivity at full saturation (ks100) and vulnerability to cavitation (Ψ50), mechanical parameters included bending strength (σb), modulus of elasticity (MOE), compression strength (σa) and Young’s modulus (E). Basic density, diameter at breast height, tree height, and hydraulic and mechanical parameters varied considerably among clones. Clonal means of hydraulic and mechanical properties were strongly related to basic density and to growth parameters across sites, especially to diameter at breast height. Compared with stem wood of slower growing clones, stem wood of rapidly growing clones had significantly lower basic density, lower σb, MOE, σa and E, was more vulnerable to cavitation, but had higher ks100. Basic density was negatively correlated to Ψ50 and ks100. We therefore found a tradeoff between Ψ50 and ks100. Clones with high basic density had significantly lower hydraulic vulnerability, but also lower hydraulic conductivity at full saturation and thus less rapid growth than clones with low basic density. This tradeoff involved a negative relationship between Ψ50 and σb as well as MOE, and between ks100 and σb, MOE and σa. Basic density and Ψ50 showed no site-specific differences, but tree height, diameter at breast height, ks100 and mechanical strength and stiffness were significantly lower at the drier site. Basic density had no influence on the site-dependent differences in hydraulic and mechanical properties, but was strongly negatively related to diameter at breast height. Selecting for growth may thus lead not only to a reduction in mechanical strength and stiffness but also to a reduction in hydraulic safety.
biomechanics; hydraulic conductivity; Picea abies; vulnerability to cavitation
Within the alpine treeline ecotone tree growth is increasingly restricted by extreme climate conditions. Although intra-annual stem growth recorded by dendrometers can be linked to climate, stem diameter increments in slow-growing subalpine trees are masked by changes in tree water status.We tested the hypothesis that intra-annual radial stem growth in Pinus cembra is influenced by different climate variables along the treeline ecotone in the Austrian Alps. Dendrometer traces were compared with dynamics of xylem cell development to date onset of cambial activity and radial stem growth in spring.Daily fluctuations in stem radius reflected changes in tree water status throughout the treeline ecotone. Extracted daily radial increments were significantly correlated with air temperature at the timberline and treeline only, where budburst, cambial activity and enlargement of first tracheids also occurred quite similarly. A close relationship was detected between radial increment and number of enlarging tracheids throughout the treeline ecotone.We conclude that (i) the relationship between climate and radial stem growth within the treeline ecotone is dependent on a close coupling to atmospheric climate conditions and (ii) initiation of cambial activity and radial growth in spring can be distinguished from stem re-hydration by histological analysis.
dendrometer; Pinus cembra; radial increment; treeline ecotone; xylem formation
Ultrasonic emission (UE) testing is used to analyse the vulnerability of xylem to embolism, but the number of UEs often does not sufficiently reflect effects on hydraulic conductivity. We monitored the absolute energy of UE signals in dehydrating xylem samples hypothesizing that (i) conduit diameter is correlated with UE energy and (ii) monitoring of UE energy may enhance the utility of this technique for analysis of xylem vulnerability. Split xylem samples were prepared from trunk wood of Picea abies, and four categories of samples, derived from mature (I: earlywood, II: 30–50% latewood, III: >50% latewood) or juvenile wood (IV: earlywood) were used. Ultrasonic emissions during dehydration were registered and anatomical parameters (tracheid lumen area, number per area) were analysed from cross-sections. Attenuation of UE energy was measured on a dehydrating wood beam by repeated lead breaks. Vulnerability to drought-induced embolism was analysed on dehydrating branches by hydraulic, UE number or UE energy measurements. In split samples, the cumulative number of UEs increased linearly with the number of tracheids per cross-section, and UE energy was positively correlated with the mean lumen area. Ultrasonic emission energies of earlywood samples (I and IV), which showed normally distributed tracheid lumen areas, increased during dehydration, whereas samples with latewood (II and III) exhibited a right-skewed distribution of lumina and UE energies. Ultrasonic emission energy was hardly influenced by moisture content until ~40% moisture loss, and decreased exponentially thereafter. Dehydrating branches showed a 50% loss of conductivity at −3.6 MPa in hydraulic measurements and at −3.9 and −3.5 MPa in UE analysis based on cumulative number or energy of signals, respectively. Ultrasonic emission energy emitted by cavitating conduits is determined by the xylem water potential and by the size of element. Energy patterns during dehydration are thus influenced by the vulnerability to cavitation, conduit size distribution as well as attenuation properties. Measurements of UE energy may be used as an alternative to the number of UEs in vulnerability analysis.
earlywood; latewood; Picea abies; signal energy; tracheid dimension; ultrasonic emission; vulnerability to xylem embolism
The aim of this study was to investigate bending stiffness and compression strength perpendicular to the grain of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) trunkwood with different anatomical and hydraulic properties. Hydraulically less safe mature sapwood had bigger hydraulic lumen diameters and higher specific hydraulic conductivities than hydraulically safer juvenile wood. Bending stiffness (MOE) was higher, whereas radial compression strength lower in mature than in juvenile wood. A density-based tradeoff between MOE and hydraulic efficiency was apparent in mature wood only. Across cambial age, bending stiffness did not compromise hydraulic efficiency due to variation in latewood percent and because of the structural demands of the tree top (e.g. high flexibility). Radial compression strength compromised, however, hydraulic efficiency because it was extremely dependent on the characteristics of the “weakest” wood part, the highly conductive earlywood. An increase in conduit wall reinforcement of earlywood tracheids would be too costly for the tree. Increasing radial compression strength by modification of microfibril angles or ray cell number could result in a decrease of MOE, which would negatively affect the trunk’s capability to support the crown. We propose that radial compression strength could be an easily assessable and highly predictive parameter for the resistance against implosion or vulnerability to cavitation across conifer species, which should be topic of further studies.
Compression strength perpendicular to the grain; Conduit wall reinforcement; Hydraulic efficiency; Modulus of elasticity in bending; Norway spruce; Structure–function relationships; Vulnerability to cavitation; Wood shrinkage
In the last years, forestry scientists have adapted genomics and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies to the search for candidate genes related to the transcriptomics of secondary growth and wood formation in several tree species. Gymnosperms, in particular, the conifers, are ecologically and economically important, namely, for the production of wood and other forestry end products. Until very recently, no whole genome sequencing of a conifer genome was available. Due to the gradual improvement of the NGS technologies and inherent bioinformatics tools, two draft assemblies of the whole genomes sequence of Picea abies and Picea glauca arose in the current year. These draft genome assemblies will bring new insights about the structure, content, and evolution of the conifer genomes. Furthermore, new directions in the forestry, breeding and research of conifers will be discussed in the following. The identification of genes associated with the xylem transcriptome and the knowledge of their regulatory mechanisms will provide less time-consuming breeding cycles and a high accuracy for the selection of traits related to wood production and quality.
The intra-annual dynamics of wood formation, which involves the passage of newly produced cells through three successive differentiation phases (division, enlargement, and wall thickening) to reach the final functional mature state, has traditionally been described in conifers as three delayed bell-shaped curves followed by an S-shaped curve. Here the classical view represented by the ‘Gompertz function (GF) approach’ was challenged using two novel approaches based on parametric generalized linear models (GLMs) and ‘data-driven’ generalized additive models (GAMs). These three approaches (GFs, GLMs, and GAMs) were used to describe seasonal changes in cell numbers in each of the xylem differentiation phases and to calculate the timing of cell development in three conifer species [Picea abies (L.), Pinus sylvestris L., and Abies alba Mill.]. GAMs outperformed GFs and GLMs in describing intra-annual wood formation dynamics, showing two left-skewed bell-shaped curves for division and enlargement, and a right-skewed bimodal curve for thickening. Cell residence times progressively decreased through the season for enlargement, whilst increasing late but rapidly for thickening. These patterns match changes in cell anatomical features within a tree ring, which allows the separation of earlywood and latewood into two distinct cell populations. A novel statistical approach is presented which renews our understanding of xylogenesis, a dynamic biological process in which the rate of cell production interplays with cell residence times in each developmental phase to create complex seasonal patterns.
Cambial activity; conifers; generalized linear and additive models (GLMs and GAMs); Gompertz functions (GFs); timing of cell development; tree ring; wood formation; xylogenesis.
Bending of trees causes a transient hydraulic overpressure signal that propagates rapidly along the vascular system in planta. This may be a mechanobiological remote signalling of the mechanical stress.
When tree stems are mechanically stimulated, a rapid long-distance signal is induced that slows down primary growth. An investigation was carried out to determine whether the signal might be borne by a mechanically induced pressure pulse in the xylem. Coupling xylem flow meters and pressure sensors with a mechanical testing device, the hydraulic effects of mechanical deformation of tree stem and branches were measured. Organs of several tree species were studied, including gymnosperms and angiosperms with different wood densities and anatomies. Bending had a negligible effect on xylem conductivity, even when deformations were sustained or were larger than would be encountered in nature. It was found that bending caused transient variation in the hydraulic pressure within the xylem of branch segments. This local transient increase in pressure in the xylem was rapidly propagated along the vascular system in planta to the upper and lower regions of the stem. It was shown that this hydraulic pulse originates from the apoplast. Water that was mobilized in the hydraulic pulses came from the saturated porous material of the conduits and their walls, suggesting that the poroelastic behaviour of xylem might be a key factor. Although likely to be a generic mechanical response, quantitative differences in the hydraulic pulse were found in different species, possibly related to differences in xylem anatomy. Importantly the hydraulic pulse was proportional to the strained volume, similar to known thigmomorphogenetic responses. It is hypothesized that the hydraulic pulse may be the signal that rapidly transmits mechanobiological information to leaves, roots, and apices.
Bending; conductivity; hydraulic; mechanosensing; poroelasticity; pressure; signalling; strain; trees; wood; water.
Background and Aims
Teak forms xylem rings that potentially carry records of carbon sequestration and climate in the tropics. These records are only useful when the structural variations of tree rings and their periodicity of formation are known.
The seasonality of ring formation in mature teak trees was examined via correlative analysis of cambial activity, xylem and phloem formation, and climate throughout 1·5 years. Xylem and phloem differentiation were visualized by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
A 3 month dry season resulted in semi-deciduousness, cambial dormancy and formation of annual xylem growth rings (AXGRs). Intra-annual xylem and phloem growth was characterized by variable intensity. Morphometric features of cambium such as cambium thickness and differentiating xylem layers were positively correlated. Cambium thickness was strongly correlated with monthly rainfall (R2 = 0·7535). In all sampled trees, xylem growth zones (XGZs) were formed within the AXGRs during the seasonal development of new foliage. When trees achieved full leaf, the xylem in the new XGZs appeared completely differentiated and functional for water transport. Two phloem growth rings were formed in one growing season.
The seasonal formation pattern and microstructure of teak xylem suggest that AXGRs and XGZs can be used as proxies for analyses of the tree history and climate at annual and intra-annual resolution.
Growth rings; teak; Tectona grandis; vascular cambium; xylem and phloem formation
Xylem and phloem need to maintain steady transport rates of water and carbohydrates to match the exchange rates of these compounds at the leaves. A major proportion of the carbon and nitrogen assimilated by a tree is allocated to the construction and maintenance of the xylem and phloem long distance transport tissues. This proportion can be expected to increase with increasing tree size due to the growing transport distances between the assimilating tissues, i.e., leaves and fine roots, at the expense of their growth. We formulated whole tree level scaling relations to estimate how xylem and phloem volume, nitrogen content and hydraulic conductance scale with tree size, and how these properties are distributed along a tree height. Xylem and phloem thicknesses and nitrogen contents were measured within varying positions in four tree species from Southern Finland. Phloem volume, nitrogen amount and hydraulic conductance were found to be concentrated toward the branch and stem apices, in contrast to the xylem where these properties were more concentrated toward the tree base. All of the species under study demonstrated very similar trends. Total nitrogen amount allocated to xylem and phloem was predicted to be comparable to the nitrogen amount allocated to the leaves in small and medium size trees, and to increase significantly above the nitrogen content of the leaves in larger trees. Total volume, hydraulic conductance and nitrogen content of the xylem were predicted to increase faster than that of the phloem with increasing tree height in small trees (<~10 m in height). In larger trees, xylem sapwood turnover to heartwood, if present, would maintain phloem conductance at the same level with xylem conductance with further increases in tree height. Further simulations with a previously published xylem-phloem transport model demonstrated that the Münch pressure flow hypothesis could explain phloem transport with increasing tree height even for the tallest trees.
carbon allocation; metabolic scaling; nitrogen allocation; phloem transport; pipe model; xylem transport
• Background and Aims The xylem plays an important role in strengthening plant bodies. Past studies on xylem formation in tension woods in poplar and also in clinorotated Prunus tree stems lead to the suggestion that changes in the gravitational conditions affect morphology and mechanical properties of xylem vessels. The aim of this study was to examine effects of hypergravity stimulus on morphology and development of primary xylem vessels and on mechanical properties of isolated secondary wall preparations in inflorescence stems of arabidopsis.
• Methods Morphology of primary xylem was examined under a light microscope on cross-sections of inflorescence stems of arabidopsis plants, which had been grown for 3–5 d after exposure to hypergravity at 300 g for 24 h. Extensibility of secondary cell wall preparation, isolated from inflorescence stems by enzyme digestion of primary cell wall components (mainly composed of metaxylem elements), was examined. Plants were treated with gadolinium chloride, a blocker of mechanoreceptors, to test the involvement of mechanoreceptors in the responses to hypergravity.
• Key Results Number of metaxylem elements per xylem, apparent thickness of the secondary thickenings, and cross-section area of metaxylem elements in inflorescence stems increased in response to hypergravity. Gadolinium chloride suppressed the effect of hypergravity on the increase both in the thickness of secondary thickenings and in the cross-section area of metaxylem elements, while it did not suppress the effect of hypergravity on the increase in the number of metaxylem elements. Extensibility of secondary cell wall preparation decreased in response to hypergravity. Gadolinium chloride suppressed the effect of hypergravity on cell wall extensibility.
• Conclusions Hypergravity stimulus promotes metaxylem development and decreases extensibility of secondary cell walls, and mechanoreceptors were suggested to be involved in these processes.
Arabidopsis thaliana; metaxylem; protoxylem; hypergravity; mechanoreceptor; secondary cell wall; secondary thickening; mechanical property; cell wall extensibility
Recent large-scale studies of tree growth in the Iberian Peninsula reported contrasting positive and negative effects of temperature in Mediterranean angiosperms and conifers. Here we review the different hypotheses that may explain these trends and propose that the observed contrasting responses of tree growth to temperature in this region could be associated with a continuum of trait differences between angiosperms and conifers. Angiosperm and conifer trees differ in the effects of phenology in their productivity, in their growth allometry, and in their sensitivity to competition. Moreover, angiosperms and conifers significantly differ in hydraulic safety margins, sensitivity of stomatal conductance to vapor-pressure deficit (VPD), xylem recovery capacity or the rate of carbon transfer. These differences could be explained by key features of the xylem such as non-structural carbohydrate content (NSC), wood parenchymal fraction or wood capacitance. We suggest that the reviewed trait differences define two contrasting ecophysiological strategies that may determine qualitatively different growth responses to increased temperature and drought. Improved reciprocal common garden experiments along altitudinal or latitudinal gradients would be key to quantify the relative importance of the different hypotheses reviewed. Finally, we show that warming impacts in this area occur in an ecological context characterized by the advance of forest succession and increased dominance of angiosperm trees over extensive areas. In this context, we examined the empirical relationships between the responses of tree growth to temperature and hydraulic safety margins in angiosperm and coniferous trees. Our findings suggest a future scenario in Mediterranean forests characterized by contrasting demographic responses in conifer and angiosperm trees to both temperature and forest succession, with increased dominance of angiosperm trees, and particularly negative impacts in pines.
conifers; angiosperms; functional traits; mediterranean ecosystems; drought; temperature; carbon metabolism; growth
Vessels and tracheids represent the most important xylem cells with respect to long distance water transport in plants. Wood anatomical studies frequently provide several quantitative details of these cells, such as vessel diameter, vessel density, vessel element length, and tracheid length, while important information on the three dimensional structure of the hydraulic network is not considered. This paper aims to provide an overview of various techniques, although there is no standard protocol to quantify conduits due to high anatomical variation and a wide range of techniques available. Despite recent progress in image analysis programs and automated methods for measuring cell dimensions, density, and spatial distribution, various characters remain time-consuming and tedious. Quantification of vessels and tracheids is not only important to better understand functional adaptations of tracheary elements to environment parameters, but will also be essential for linking wood anatomy with other fields such as wood development, xylem physiology, palaeobotany, and dendrochronology.
bordered pit; pit membrane; tracheid; vessel; vessel element; wood anatomy
We determined the temporal dynamic of cambial activity and xylem development of stone pine (Pinus cembra L.) throughout the treeline ecotone. Repeated micro-sampling of the developing tree ring was carried out during the growing seasons 2006 and 2007 at the timberline (1950 m a.s.l.), treeline (2110 m a.s.l.) and within the krummholz belt (2180 m a.s.l.) and the influence of climate variables on intra-annual wood formation was determined.
At the beginning of both growing seasons, highest numbers of cambial and enlarging cells were observed at the treeline. Soil temperatures at time of initiation of cambial activity were c. 1.5 °C higher at treeline (open canopy) compared to timberline (closed canopy), suggesting that a threshold root-zone temperature is involved in triggering onset of above ground stem growth.
The rate of xylem cell production determined in two weekly intervals during June through August 2006-2007 was significantly correlated with air temperature (temperature sums expressed as degree-days and mean daily maximum temperature) at the timberline only. Lack of significant relationships between tracheid production and temperature variables at the treeline and within the krummholz belt support past dendroclimatological studies that more extreme environmental conditions (e.g., wind exposure, frost desiccation, late frost) increasingly control tree growth above timberline.
Results of this study revealed that spatial and temporal (i.e. year-to-year) variability in timing and dynamic of wood formation of Pinus cembra is strongly influenced by local site factors within the treeline ecotone and the dynamics of seasonal temperature variation, respectively.
Cambium; intra-annual growth; Pinus cembra; temperature; tracheid production
The relationship between stem CO2 efflux (ES), cambial activity and xylem production in Pinus cembra was determined at the timberline (1950 m a.s.l.) of the Central Austrian Alps, throughout one year. ES was measured continuously from June 2006 to August 2007 using an infrared gas-analysis system. Cambial activity and xylem production was determined by repeated microcore sampling of the developing tree ring and radial increment was monitored using automated point dendrometers. Aside of temperature, the number of living tracheids and cambial cells was predominantly responsible for ES: ES normalized to 10°C (ES10) was significantly correlated to number of living cells throughout the year (r2 = 0,574; p < 0,001). However, elevated ES and missing correlation between ES10 and xylem production was detected during cambial reactivation in April and during transition from active phase to rest, which occurred in August and lasted until early September. Results of this study indicate that (i) during seasonal variations in cambial activity non-linearity between ES and xylem production occurs and (ii) elevated metabolic activity during transition stages in the cambial activity-dormancy cycle influence the carbon budget of Pinus cembra. Daily radial stem increment was primarily influenced by the number of enlarging cells and was not correlated to ES.
cambial reactivation; dormancy; Pinus cembra; radial stem growth; sap flow; stem CO2 efflux; stem respiration; xylem production
General models of plant vascular architecture, based on scaling of pipe diameters to remove the length dependence of hydraulic resistance within the xylem, have attracted strong interest. However, these models have neglected to consider the leaf, an important hydraulic component; they assume all leaves to have similar hydraulic properties, including similar pipe diameters in the petiole. We examine the scaling of the leaf xylem in 10 temperate oak species, an important hydraulic component. The mean hydraulic diameter of petiole xylem vessels varied by 30% among the 10 oak species. Conduit diameters narrowed from the petiole to the midrib to the secondary veins, consistent with resistance minimization, but the power function scaling exponent differed from that predicted for stems. Leaf size was an organizing trait within and across species. These findings indicate that leaf vasculature needs to be included in whole-plant scaling models, for these to accurately reflect and predict whole-plant transport and its implications for performance and ecology.
tapering; xylem vessels; hydraulic resistance; scaling relationships; allometry; stomatal density
A recent metabolic scaling theory predicts that plants minimize resistance to hydraulic conduction in the bulk transport network by narrowing the diameter of xylem conduits distally. We hypothesized that trees growing at high altitude or on nutrient-depleted soils would prioritize survival over minimizing hydraulic resistance, and that their vascular systems would be structured differently from those of trees growing under more benign conditions. In fact, conduits were observed to narrow towards the periphery of vascular system within all 45 trees of three species we investigated, and scaling relationships were indistinguishable across a range of environments. Thus, conduit tapering relationships appear to be invariant with respect to environmental conditions.
tapering; xylem conduits; hydraulic resistance; scaling relationships; allometry
Our understanding of the contribution of Golgi proteins to cell wall and wood formation in any woody plant species is limited. Currently, little Golgi proteomics data exists for wood-forming tissues. In this study, we attempted to address this issue by generating and analyzing Golgi-enriched membrane preparations from developing xylem of compression wood from the conifer Pinus radiata. Developing xylem samples from 3-year-old pine trees were harvested for this purpose at a time of active growth and subjected to a combination of density centrifugation followed by free flow electrophoresis, a surface charge separation technique used in the enrichment of Golgi membranes. This combination of techniques was successful in achieving an approximately 200-fold increase in the activity of the Golgi marker galactan synthase and represents a significant improvement for proteomic analyses of the Golgi from conifers. A total of thirty known Golgi proteins were identified by mass spectrometry including glycosyltransferases from gene families involved in glucomannan and glucuronoxylan biosynthesis. The free flow electrophoresis fractions of enriched Golgi were highly abundant in structural proteins (actin and tubulin) indicating a role for the cytoskeleton during compression wood formation. The mass spectrometry proteomics data associated with this study have been deposited to the ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD000557.
Stem diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree height (H) are commonly used measures of tree growth. We examined patterns of height growth and diameter growth along a stem using a 20-year record of an even-aged hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl.) stand. In the region of the stem below the crown (except for the butt swell), diameter growth rates (ΔD) at different heights tended to increase slightly from breast height upwards. This increasing trend was pronounced in suppressed trees, but not as much as the variation in ΔD among individual trees. Hence, ΔD below the crown can be regarded as generally being represented by the DBH growth rate (ΔDBH) of a tree. Accordingly, the growth rate of the stem cross-sectional area increased along the stem upwards in suppressed trees, but decreased in dominant trees. The stem diameter just below the crown base (DCB), the square of which is an index of the amount of leaves on a tree, was an important factor affecting ΔDBH. DCB also had a strong positive relationship with crown length. Hence, long-term changes in the DCB of a tree were associated with long-term changes in crown length, determined by the balance between the height growth rate (ΔH) and the rising rate of the crown base (ΔHCB). Within the crown, ΔD's were generally greater than the rates below the crown. Even dying trees (ΔD ≈ 0 below the crown) maintained ΔD > 0 within the crown and ΔH > 0 until about 5 years before death. This growth within the crown may be related to the need to produce new leaves to compensate for leaves lost owing to the longevity of the lower crown. These results explain the different time trajectories in DBH–H relationships among individual trees, and also the long-term changes in the DBH–H relationships. The view that a rise in the crown base is strongly related to leaf turnover helps to interpret DBH–H relationships.
allometry; crown rise; linear mixed models; pipe model theory; stem form; stem taper