Mongolian Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) is one of the principal tree species in the network of Three-North Shelterbelt for windbreak and sand stabilisation in China. The functions of shelterbelts are highly correlated with the architecture and eco-physiological processes of individual tree. Thus, model-assisted analysis of canopy architecture and function dynamic in Mongolian Scots pine is of value for better understanding its role and behaviour within shelterbelt ecosystems in these arid and semiarid regions. We present here a single-tree functional and structural model, derived from the GreenLab model, which is adapted for young Mongolian Scots pines by incorporation of plant biomass production, allocation, allometric rules and soil water dynamics. The model is calibrated and validated based on experimental measurements taken on Mongolian Scots pines in 2007 and 2006 under local meteorological conditions. Measurements include plant biomass, topology and geometry, as well as soil attributes and standard meteorological data. After calibration, the model allows reconstruction of three-dimensional (3D) canopy architecture and biomass dynamics for trees from one- to six-year-old at the same site using meteorological data for the six years from 2001 to 2006. Sensitivity analysis indicates that rainfall variation has more influence on biomass increment than on architecture, and the internode and needle compartments and the aboveground biomass respond linearly to increases in precipitation. Sensitivity analysis also shows that the balance between internode and needle growth varies only slightly within the range of precipitations considered here. The model is expected to be used to investigate the growth of Mongolian Scots pines in other regions with different soils and climates.
A central issue in our understanding of the evolution of the diversity of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) is whether or not compounds are functional, conferring an advantage to the plant, or non-functional. We examine the hypothesis that the diversity of monoterpene PSMs within a plant species (Scots pine Pinus sylvestris) may be explained by different compounds acting as defences against high-impact herbivores operating at different life stages. We also hypothesize that pairwise coevolution, with uncorrelated interactions, is more likely to result in greater PSM diversity, than diffuse coevolution. We tested whether up to 13 different monoterpenes in Scots pine were inhibitory to herbivory by slugs (Arion ater), bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), each of which attack trees at a different life stage. Plants containing more α-pinene were avoided by both slugs and capercaillie, which may act as reinforcing selective agents for this dominant defensive compound. Herbivory by red deer and capercaillie were, respectively, weakly negatively associated with δ3-carene, and strongly negatively correlated with the minor compound β-ocimene. Three of the four herbivores are probably contributory selective agents on some of the terpenes, and thus maintain some, but by no means all, of the phytochemical diversity in the species. The correlated defensive function of α-pinene against slugs and capercaillie is consistent with diffuse coevolutionary processes.
coevolution; diversity; plant secondary metabolites; selection
Etiological studies to determine the cause of decline and death of Pinus spp. in Delaware were initiated in 1980. The pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, was found to be the major canse of mortality in Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii). When inoculated into healthy 5-yr-old Japanese black pines, B. xylophilus produced typical decline symptoms observed in the field. The xylophilous fungi most often associated with declining trees, Rhizosphaera pini, Fusarium spp., and Pestalotia funerea, were not pathogenic to Japanese black pine in greenhouse tests. Mineral analyses of soil and foliage showed no significant differences between healthy and infested trees. B. xylolyhilus was also found on loblolly pine (P. taeda), scrub pine (P. virginiana), Scots pine (P. sylvestris), red pine (P. resinosa), Eastern white pine (P. strobus), and pitch pine (P. rigida).
pinewood nematode; Japanese black pine
Global change triggers shifts in forest composition, with warming and aridification being particularly threatening for the populations located at the rear edge of the species distributions. This is the case of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in the Mediterranean Basin where uncertainties in relation to its dynamics under these changing scenarios are still high. We analysed the relative effect of climate on the recruitment patterns of Scots pine and its interactions with local biotic and abiotic variables at different spatial scales. Number of seedlings and saplings was surveyed, and their annual shoot growth measured in 96 plots located across altitudinal gradients in three different regions in the Iberian Peninsula. We found a significant influence of climate on demography and performance of recruits, with a non-linear effect of temperature on the presence of juveniles, and a positive effect of precipitation on their survival. Abundance of juveniles of P. sylvestris that underwent their first summer drought was skewed towards higher altitudes than the altitudinal mean range of the conspecific adults and the optimum elevation for seedlings' emergence. At local level, light availability did not influence juveniles' density, but it enhanced their growth. Biotic interactions were found between juveniles and the herb cover (competition) and between the number of newly emerged seedlings and shrubs (facilitation). Results also highlighted the indirect effect that climate exerts over the local factors, modulating the interactions with the pre-existing vegetation that were more evident at more stressful sites. This multiscale approach improves our understanding of the dynamics of these marginal populations and some management criteria can be inferred to boost their conservation under the current global warming.
Quantifying the effect of pollen dispersal and flowering traits on mating success is essential for understanding evolutionary responses to changing environments and establishing strategies for forest tree breeding. This study examined, quantitatively, the effects of male fecundity, interindividual distance and anisotropic pollen dispersal on the mating success of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), utilizing a well-mapped Scots pine seed orchard. Paternity analysis of 1021 seeds sampled from 87 trees representing 28 clones showed that 53% of the seeds had at least one potential pollen parent within the orchard. Pronounced variation in paternal contribution was observed among clones. Variations in pollen production explained up to 78% of the variation in mating success, which was 11.2 times greater for clones producing the largest amount of pollen than for clones producing the least pollen. Mating success also varied with intertree distance and direction, which explained up to 28% of the variance. Fertilization between neighboring trees 2.3 m apart was 2.4 times more frequent than between trees 4.6 m apart, and up to 12.4 times higher for trees downwind of the presumed prevailing wind direction than for upwind trees. The effective number of pollen donors recorded in the seed orchard (12.2) was smaller than the theoretical expectation (19.7). Based on the empirical observations, a mating model that best describes the gene dispersal pattern in clonal seed orchards was constructed.
anisotropic pollen dispersal; male fecundity; distance effect; mating model; paternity assignment
Within a dry inner Alpine valley in the Eastern Central Alps (750 m a.s.l., Tyrol, Austria) the influence of climate variables (precipitation, air humidity, temperature) and soil water content on intra-annual dynamics of tree-ring development was determined in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) at two sites differing in soil water availability (xeric and dry-mesic site). Radial stem development was continuously followed during 2007 and 2008 by band dendrometers and repeated micro-sampling of the developing tree rings of mature trees. Daily and seasonal fluctuations of the stem radius, which reached almost half of total annual increment, primarily reflected changes in tree water status and masked radial stem growth especially during drought periods in spring. However, temporal dynamics of intra-annual radial growth determined by both methods were found to be quite similar, when onset of radial growth in dendrometer traces was defined by the occurrence of first enlarging xylem cells. Radial increments during the growing period, which lasted from early April through early August showed statistically significant relationships with precipitation (Kendall τ = 0.234, p < 0.01, and τ = 0.184, p < 0.05, at the xeric and dry-mesic site, respectively) and relative air humidity (Pearson r = 0.290, p < 0.05, and r = 0.306, p < 0.05 at the xeric and dry-mesic site, respectively). Soil water content and air temperature had no influence on radial stem increment. Culmination of radial stem growth was detected at both study plots around mid-May, prior to occurrence of more favourable climatic conditions, i.e. an increase in precipitation during summer. We suggest that the early decrease in radial growth rate is due to a high belowground demand for carbohydrates to ensure adequate resource acquisition on the drought prone substrate.
Dendrometer; Drought; Dry inner Alpine valley; Pinus sylvestris; Radial growth; Xylem cell analysis
At the last glacial maximum, Fennoscandia was covered by an ice sheet while the tundra occupied most of the rest of northern Eurasia. More or less disjunct refugial populations of plants were dispersed in southern Europe, often trapped between mountain ranges and seas. Genetic and paleobotanical evidences indicate that these populations have contributed much to Holocene recolonization of more northern latitudes. Less supportive evidence has been found for the existence of glacial populations located closer to the ice margin. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is a nordic conifer with a wide natural range covering much of Eurasia. Fractures in its extant genetic structure might be indicative of glacial vicariance and how different refugia contributed to the current distribution at the continental level. The population structure of Scots pine was investigated on much of its Eurasian natural range using maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms.
A novel polymorphic region of the Scots pine mitochondrial genome has been identified, the intron 1 of nad7, with three variants caused by insertions-deletions. From 986 trees distributed among 54 populations, four distinct multi-locus mitochondrial haplotypes (mitotypes) were detected based on the three nad7 intron 1 haplotypes and two previously reported size variants for nad1 intron B/C. Population differentiation was high (GST = 0.657) and the distribution of the mitotypes was geographically highly structured, suggesting at least four genetically distinct ancestral lineages. A cosmopolitan lineage was widely distributed in much of Europe throughout eastern Asia. A previously reported lineage limited to the Iberian Peninsula was confirmed. A new geographically restricted lineage was found confined to Asia Minor. A new lineage was restricted to more northern latitudes in northeastern Europe and the Baltic region.
The contribution of the various ancestral lineages to the current distribution of Scots pine was asymmetric and extant endemism reflected the presence of large geographic barriers to migration. The results suggest a complex biogeographical history with glacial refugia shared with temperate plant species in southern European Peninsulas and Asia Minor, and a genetically distinct glacial population located more North. These results confirm recent observations for cold tolerant species about the possible existence of refugial populations at mid-northern latitudes contributing significantly to the recolonization of northern Europe. Thus, Eurasian populations of nordic plant species might not be as genetically homogenous as assumed by simply considering them as offsets of glacial populations located in southern peninsulas. As such, they might have evolved distinctive genetic adaptations during glacial vicariance, worth evaluating and considering for conservation.
The effect of temperature on pine wilt development in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) was examined in three experiments. Container-grown pines (4-6 years old) inoculated with 1,500 Bursaphelenchus xylophilus were incubated at constant temperatures in growth chamber for 8 weeks, then at a temperature range of 15-30 C in a greenhouse for 10-12 weeks. Nematode infection was greater, tree mortality was higher, and disease incubation was shorter at 32 and 30 C than at 25, 23, 18, and 11 C. Foliar symptoms developed more rapidly and uniformly at higher temperatures. Ninety-five percent of tree deaths at 32 and 30 C and 88% at 25 and 23 C occurred within the 8-week exposure to constant temperatures. Mortality at 18, 16, and 11 C occurred only after transfer to the greenhouse. Results indicate that pine wilt incidence is directly related and disease incubation period is inversely related to temperature and that high-temperature stress predisposes Scots pine to lethal infection by B. xylophilus.
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus; pine; pine wilt; pinewood nematode; Pinus sylvestris; Scots pine; temperature
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is an alternative amplification technology which is highly sensitive and less time-consuming than conventional PCR-based methods. Three LAMP assays were developed, two for detection of species of symbiotic blue stain fungi associated with Ips acuminatus, a bark beetle infesting Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), and an additional assay specific to I. acuminatus itself for use as a control. In common with most bark beetles, I. acuminatus is associated with phytopathogenic blue stain fungi involved in the process of exhausting tree defenses, which is a necessary step for the colonization of the plant by the insect. However, the identity of the main blue stain fungus vectored by I. acuminatus was still uncertain, as well as its frequency of association with I. acuminatus under outbreak and non-outbreak conditions. In this study, we employed LAMP technology to survey six populations of I. acuminatus sampled from the Southern Alps. Ophiostoma clavatum was detected at all sampling sites, while Ophiostoma brunneo-ciliatum, reported in part of the literature as the main blue stain fungus associated with I. acuminatus, was not detected on any of the samples. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that O. clavatum is the main blue stain fungus associated with I. acuminatus in the Southern Alps. The method developed in the course of this work provides a molecular tool by which it will be easy to screen populations and derive important data regarding the ecology of the species involved.
Cavitation decreases the hydraulic conductance of the xylem and has, therefore, detrimental effects on plant water balance. However, cavitation is also hypothesized to relieve water stress temporarily by releasing water from embolizing conduits to the transpiration stream. Stomatal closure in response to decreasing water potentials in order to avoid excessive cavitation has been well documented in numerous previous studies. However, it has remained unclear whether the stomata sense cavitation events themselves or whether they act in response to a decrease in leaf water potential to a level at which cavitation is initiated. The effects of massive cavitation on leaf water potential, transpiration, and stomatal behaviour were studied by feeding a surfactant into the transpiration stream of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) seedlings. The stomatal response to cavitation in connection with the capacitive effect was also studied. A major transient increase in leaf water potential was found due to cavitation in the seedlings. As cavitation was induced by lowering the surface tension, the two mechanisms could be uncoupled, as the usual relation between xylem water potential and the onset of cavitation did not hold. Our results indicate that the seedlings responded more to leaf water potential and less to cavitation itself, as stomatal closure was insufficient to prevent the seedlings from being driven to ‘run-away’ cavitation in a manner of hours.
Cavitation; leaf gas exchange; stomatal control; water potential; xylem transport
The aim of this study was to understand how drought-induced tree mortality and subsequent secondary succession would affect soil bacterial taxonomic composition as well as soil organic matter (SOM) quantity and quality in a mixed Mediterranean forest where the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) population, affected by climatic drought-induced die-off, is being replaced by Holm-oaks (HO; Quercus ilex). We apply a high throughput DNA pyrosequencing technique and 13C solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (CP-MAS 13C NMR) to soils within areas of influence (defined as an surface with 2-m radius around the trunk) of different trees: healthy and affected (defoliated) pines, pines that died a decade ago and healthy HOs. Soil respiration was also measured in the same spots during a spring campaign using a static close-chamber method (soda lime). A decade after death, and before aerial colonization by the more competitive HOs have even taken place, we could not find changes in soil C pools (quantity and/or quality) associated with tree mortality and secondary succession. Unlike C pools, bacterial diversity and community structure were strongly determined by tree mortality. Convergence between the most abundant taxa of soil bacterial communities under dead pines and colonizer trees (HOs) further suggests that physical gap colonization was occurring below-ground before above-ground colonization was taken place. Significantly higher soil respiration rates under dead trees, together with higher bacterial diversity and anomalously high representation of bacteria commonly associated with copiotrophic environments (r-strategic bacteria) further gives indications of how drought-induced tree mortality and secondary succession were influencing the structure of microbial communities and the metabolic activity of soils.
Climate change; drought; ecosystem functioning; forest dieback; gap colonization; microbial diversity; nutrient cycling; pyrosequencing; tree mortality
Carbon isotope data from conifer trees play an important role in research on the boreal forest carbon reservoir in the global carbon cycle. Carbon isotopes are routinely used to study interactions between the environment and tree growth. Moreover, carbon isotopes became an essential tool for the evaluation of carbon assimilation and transport from needles into reserve pools, as well as the allocation of stored assimilates within a tree. The successful application and interpretation of carbon isotopes rely on the coherence of isotopic fractionation modeling. This study employs a new Carbon Metabolism Oscillatory Model (CMOM) to interpret the experimental data sets on metabolic seasonal dynamics of 13C/12 C and 18O/16O ratios measured in twig components of Scots pine growing in southern Siberia (Russia).
The dynamics of carbon isotopic variables were studied in components of Pinus sylvestris L. in light and in dark chambers during the vegetation period from 14 June to 28 July 2006. At the beginning of this period water-soluble organic matter, mostly labile sugars (including sucrose as the main component) and newly formed bulk needle material, displayed relatively “light” δ13C values (depletion in 13 C). Then, 13 C content increased again with noticeable “depletion” events in the middle of the growth period. A gradual 13 C accumulation took place in the second half of the vegetation period. Similar effects were observed both in the light and in the dark with some temporal shifts. Environmental factors did not influence the δ13C values. A gradual 12C-depletion effect was noticed in needles of the previous year. The δ13C values of sucrose and proteins from needle biomass altered independently from each other in the light chamber. A distinct negative correlation between δ13C and δ18O values was revealed for all studied variables.
The abrupt 13C depletion recorded by all tested trees for the period from June to July provides clear evidence of the transition from the dominant role of reserve carbohydrate pool (RCP) during the first half of the growth season to the preferable current year carbohydrate pool (CCP) consumption by new needles during its second half. The investigation of the isotopic signatures of Pinus sylvestris L. emphasizes the pivotal role of the intra-seasonal dynamics in carbon metabolism through the transport of assimilates from autotrophic (needles) to heterotrophic (twigs) organs of the studied trees. This provides an explanation for changes of carbon isotopic values observed within the growth season. The CMOM-based results support the hypothesis of the integration of three carbohydrate pools by photosynthesizing cells. The fluctuations of the carbon isotope ratios in different carbohydrate pools underlie various physiological processes in the tree metabolism. The possible mechanisms and pathways of formation of these carbohydrate pools are further discussed. Hence, CMOM provides a reasonable explanation for the absence of the impact of environmental conditions on the needle isotopic variables, the 12C-depletion effects and the use of RCP in needles. The model explains the negative connections between δ13C and δ18O values in all studied variables.
Although homoploid hybrid speciation in plants is probably more common than previously realized, there are few well-documented cases of homoploid hybrid origin in conifers. We examined genetic divergence between two currently widespread pines in Northeast China, Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica and Pinus densiflora, and also whether two narrowly distributed pines in the same region, Pinus funebris and Pinus takahasii, might have originated from the two widespread species by homoploid hybrid speciation. Our results, based on population genetic analysis of chloroplast (cp), mitochondrial (mt) DNA, and nuclear gene sequence variation, showed that the two widespread species were divergent for both cp- and mtDNA variation, and also for haplotype variation at two of eight nuclear gene loci surveyed. Our analysis further indicated that P. sylvestris var. mongolica and P. densiflora remained allopatric during the most severe Quaternary glacial period that occurred in Northeast China, but subsequently exhibited rapid range expansions. P. funebris and P. takahasii, were found to contain a mixture of chlorotypes and nuclear haplotypes that distinguish P. sylvestris var. mongolica and P. densiflora, in support of the hypothesis that they possibly originated via homoploid hybrid speciation following secondary contact and hybridization between P. sylvestris var. mongolica and P. densiflora.
homoploid hybrid speciation; interspecific divergence; Pinus; range expansion
In situ hybridization is a general molecular method typically used for the localization of mRNA transcripts in plants. The method provides a valuable tool to unravel the connection between gene expression and anatomy, especially in species such as pines which show large genome size and shortage of sequence information.
In the present study, expression of the catalase gene (CAT) related to the scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the polyamine metabolism related genes, diamine oxidase (DAO) and arginine decarboxylase (ADC), were localized in developing Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seeds. In addition to specific signals from target mRNAs, the probes continually hybridized non-specifically in the embryo surrounding region (ESR) of the megagametophyte tissue, in the remnants of the degenerated suspensors as well as in the cells of the nucellar layers, i.e. tissues exposed to cell death processes and extensive nucleic acid fragmentation during Scots pine seed development.
In plants, cell death is an integral part of both development and defence, and hence it is a common phenomenon in all stages of the life cycle. Our results suggest that extensive nucleic acid fragmentation during cell death processes can be a considerable source of non-specific signals in traditional in situ mRNA hybridization. Thus, the visualization of potential nucleic acid fragmentation simultaneously with the in situ mRNA hybridization assay may be necessary to ensure the correct interpretation of the signals in the case of non-specific hybridization of probes in plant tissues.
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a very common tree in Polish forests, and therefore was widely used as timber. A relatively large amount of available wood allowed a long-term chronology to be built up and used as a source of information about past climate. The analysis of reconstructed indexed values of mean temperature in 51-year moving intervals allowed the recognition of the coldest periods in the years 1207–1346, 1383–1425, 1455–1482, 1533–1574, 1627–1646, and 1694–1785. The analysis of extreme wide and narrow rings forms a complementary method of examining climatic data within tree rings. The tree ring widths, early wood and late wood widths of 16 samples were assessed during the period 1581–1676. The most apparent effect is noted in the dry summer of 1616. According to previous research and our findings, temperature from February to March seems to be one of the most stable climatic factors which influenced pine growth in Poland. Correlation coefficients in the calibration and validation procedure gave promising results for temperature reconstruction from the pine chronology.
Dendrochronology; Dendroclimatology; Climate reconstruction; Scots pine
Understory vegetation plays a crucial role in carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems; however, it is not clear how understory species affect tree litter decomposition and nutrient dynamics. In this study, we examined the impacts of understory litter on the decomposition and nutrient release of tree litter both in a pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) and a poplar (Populus × xiaozhuanica) plantation in Northeast China. Leaf litter of tree species, and senesced aboveground materials from two dominant understory species, Artemisia scoparia and Setaria viridis in the pine stand and Elymus villifer and A. sieversiana in the poplar stand, were collected. Mass loss and N and P fluxes of single-species litter and three-species mixtures in each of the two forests were quantified. Data from single-species litterbags were used to generate predicted mass loss and N and P fluxes for the mixed-species litterbags. In the mixture from the pine stand, the observed mass loss and N release did not differ from the predicted value, whereas the observed P release was greater than the predicted value. However, the presence of understory litter decelerated the mass loss and did not affect N and P releases from the pine litter. In the poplar stand, litter mixture presented a positive non-additive effect on litter mass loss and P release, but an addition effect on N release. The presence of understory species accelerated only N release of poplar litter. Moreover, the responses of mass loss and N and P releases of understory litter in the mixtures varied with species in both pine and poplar plantations. Our results suggest that the effects of understory species on tree litter decomposition vary with tree species, and also highlight the importance of understory species in litter decomposition and nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems.
We determined the temporal dynamics of cambial activity and xylem cell differentiation of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) within a dry inner Alpine valley (750 m asl, Tyrol, Austria), where radial growth is strongly limited by drought in spring. Repeated micro-sampling of the developing tree ring of mature trees was carried out during 2 contrasting years at two study plots that differ in soil water availability (xeric and dry-mesic site).
In 2007, when air temperature at the beginning of the growing season in April exceeded the long-term mean by 6.4 °C, cambial cell division started in early April at both study plots. A delayed onset of cambial activity of c. 2 wk was found in 2008, when average climate conditions prevailed in spring, indicating that resumption of cambial cell division after winter dormancy is temperature-controlled. Cambial cell division consistently ended about the end of June/early July in both study years. Radial enlargement of tracheids started almost 3 wk earlier in 2007 compared with 2008 at both study plots. At the xeric site, the maximum rate of tracheid production in 2007 and 2008 was reached in early and mid-May, respectively, and c. 2 wk later, at the dry-mesic site. Since in both study years, more favorable growing conditions (i.e., an increase in soil water content) were recorded during summer, we suggest a strong sink competition for carbohydrates to mycorrhizal root and shoot growth. Wood formation stopped c. 4 wk earlier at the xeric compared with the dry-mesic site in both years, indicating a strong influence of drought stress on cell differentiation. This is supported by radial widths of earlywood cells, which were found to be significantly narrower at the xeric than at the dry-mesic site (P < 0.05).
Repeated cellular analyses during the two growing seasons revealed that, although spatial variability in the dynamics and duration of cell differentiation processes in Pinus sylvestris exposed to drought is strongly influenced by water availability, the onset of cambial activity and cell differentiation is controlled by temperature.
Cambium; dry inner Alpine valley; intra-annual growth; Scots pine; tracheid production; xylogenesis
The physiological mechanisms leading to Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) decline in the dry inner Alpine valleys are still unknown. Testing the carbon starvation hypothesis, we analysed the seasonal course of mobile carbohydrate pools (NSC) of Scots pine growing at a xeric and a dry-mesic site within an inner Alpine dry valley (750 m a.s.l., Tyrol, Austria) during the year 2009, which was characterized by exceptional soil dryness. Although, soil moisture content dropped to c. 10% at both sites during the growing season, NSC concentrations were rising in all tissues (branch, stem, root) till end of July, except in needles where maxima were reached around bud break. NSC concentrations were not significantly different in the analysed tissues at the xeric and the dry-mesic site. At the dry-mesic site NSC concentrations in the above ground tree biomass were significantly higher during the period of radial growth. An accumulation of NSC in roots at the end of July indicates a change in carbon allocation after an early cessation in above ground growth, possibly due to elevated below ground carbon demand. In conclusion our results revealed that extensive soil dryness during the growing season did not lead to carbon depletion. However, even though C-reserves were not exhausted, a sequestration of carbohydrate pools during drought periods might lead to deficits in carbon supply that weaken tree vigour and drive tree mortality.
non-structural carbohydrates; Scots pine; drought; dry inner Alpine valley; carbon starvation; tree mortality
Active ground optical remote sensing (AGORS) devices mounted on overhead irrigation booms could help to improve seedling quality by autonomously monitoring seedling stress. In contrast to traditionally used passive optical sensors, AGORS devices operate independently of ambient light conditions and do not require spectral reference readings. Besides measuring red (590–670 nm) and near-infrared (>760 nm) reflectance AGORS devices have recently become available that also measure red-edge (730 nm) reflectance. We tested the hypothesis that the additional availability of red-edge reflectance information would improve AGORS of plant stress induced chlorophyll breakdown in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Our results showed that the availability of red-edge reflectance information improved AGORS estimates of stress induced variation in chlorophyll concentration (r2 > 0.73, RMSE < 1.69) when compared to those without (r2 = 0.57, RMSE = 2.11).
chlorophyll a+b concentration (Chlab); Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris); red-edge; NDRE; NDVI; CCCI; crop sensors
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris; Pinaceae, Pinales) is known to defend against egg deposition by herbivorous sawflies by changing its terpenoid volatile blend. The oviposition-induced pine odor attracts egg parasitoids that kill the sawfly eggs. Here, we investigated whether sawfly egg deposition activates genes encoding pine terpene synthases by extracting mRNA from oviposition-induced P. sylvestris. Three new sesquiterpene synthases, PsTPS 1, PsTPS 2, and PsTPS 3, were isolated that were shown on heterologous expression in Escherichia coli to produce (E)-β-caryophyllene and α-humulene (PsTPS 1), 1(10),5-germacradiene-4-ol (PsTPS 2), and longifolene and α-longipinene (PsTPS 3) as their principal products. Quantitative RT-PCR analyses revealed that transcript levels of PsTPS 1 and PsTPS 2 were significantly higher in oviposition-induced twigs that were attractive to the parasitoids than in non-attractive, artificially damaged twigs. Thus, our results demonstrate a specific transcription response to egg deposition, distinct from that caused by artificial wounding. Transcripts of PsTPS 3 did not change in response to egg deposition. The transcript levels of PsTPS 1, PsTPS 2, and PsTPS 3 were also determined in relation to time after egg deposition, since pine odor is attractive to the parasitoid only 72 h after egg deposition. Transcription rates of PsTPS 1 and PsTPS 2 were significantly enhanced only 72 h after egg deposition, thus matching the timing of odor attractiveness, while for PsTPS 3, enhanced transcription was not detected at any time period studied after egg deposition. The ecological significance of the oviposition-induced increase of sesquiterpene synthase transcripts is discussed.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00425-008-0747-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Conifers; Diprion pini; Egg deposition; Induced defense; Pinus; Terpene synthase
Pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner &Buhrer) Nickle, spatial dispersion was determined in Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris L., bolts infested with the pine sawyer beetle, Monochamus carolinensis (Olivier) and in bolts without M. carolinensis. According to Taylor's power law and Green's index of dispersion, nematode dispersion was aggregated in both sets of bolts. The degree of aggregation did not differ significantly between beetle-infested and noninfested bolts, suggesting that the presence of M. carolinensis does not affect nematode dispersion within a bolt. Nematode population densities differed radially in bolts not infested with pine sawyers, but in a nonregular pattern. Moisture content of the bolts was correlated with population density of B. xylophilus, suggesting that nematode aggregates occur in areas of high moisture content.
Aphelenchoididae; Coleoptera; M. carolinensis; nematode; pine sawyer; pinewood nematode
Conifers like Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) have a complicated root system consisting of morphologically and anatomically different root types, of which the short roots have a very limited ability to elongate. Short roots have an important role in nature since they are able to establish ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, in which the growth of fungal mycelium between the epidermal cells and in the intercellular space between cortical cells leads to formation of dichotomous short roots, which may, through further splitting of the meristem, form coralloid root structures. Dichotomous short roots have been suggested to result from changes in either auxin or ethylene concentrations due to the fungal growth inside the root. NPA, the inhibitor of polar auxin transport, enhances the dichotomization of P. sylvestris short root tips similarly to the fungal growth in the root, thus confirming that auxin plays a role in short root morphogenesis. Ethylene is also known to have an important role in the regulation of root morphogenesis. In future the research dealing with the root system and ectomycorrhiza development in P. sylvestris must take into account that both auxin and ethylene are involved and that there is no contradiction in obtaining the same phenotype with both hormones. The expression analysis of PIN proteins, auxin efflux carriers, could give valuable information about the role of auxin transport in regulating the root growth and morphogenesis of coniferous root system and mycorrhiza.
auxin transport; dichotomization; ethylene; mycorrhiza; open meristem; PIN; Pinus sylvestris; short root
We have used polymorphic chloroplast simple-sequence repeats to analyse levels of genetic variation within and between seven native Scottish and eight mainland European populations of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Diversity levels for the Scottish populations based on haplotype frequency were far in excess of those previously obtained using monoterpenes and isozymes and confirmed lower levels of genetic variation within the derelict population at Glen Falloch. The diversity levels were higher than those reported in similar studies in other Pinus species. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that small (3.24-8.81%) but significant (p < or = 0.001) portions of the variation existed between the populations and that there was no significant difference between the Scottish and the mainland European populations. Evidence of population substructure was found in the Rannoch population, which exhibited two subgroups. Finally, one of the loci studied exhibited an allele distribution uncharacteristic of the stepwise mutation model of evolution of simple-sequence repeats, and sequencing of the PCR products revealed that this was due to a duplication rather than slippage in the repeat region. An examination of the distribution of this mutation suggests that it may have occurred fairly recently in the Wester Ross region or that it may be evidence of a refugial population.
Aphelenchoides microstylus n. sp. and Seinura onondagensis n. sp., a nematode predator, are described from dead Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Onondaga County, New York. Females of A. microstylus are 370 to 485 µm long. The body is slender and tapers posteriorly to an amucronate, pointed terminus. The head is continuous with the body, and lips bear a stylet guide. Diagnostic characters of females are three incisures in the lateral field, a short stylet (6-7.5 µm) with small basal knobs, a single row of oocytes, and a long postuterine sac (25-50 µm). Males are characterized by small spicules (10-11µm); two pairs of post-anal, subventral papillae; and a single row of spermatocytes. A bursa and gubernaculum are absent. Seinura onondagensis females are characterized by a body of moderate length (475-595 µm), finely annulated cuticle, and a slightly set-off head. Diagnostic characters are four incisures in the lateral field, long stylet without basal knobs (17-22 µm), single row of oocytes, and presence of a postuterine sac (14-38 µm). Males are unknown. The monospecific genus Indaphelenchus is proposed as a synonym of Seinura, and S. siddiqii n. comb. is proposed for the only species, I. siddiqii.
Aphelenchina; Aphelenchoides microstylus; bark beetle; Indaphelenchus siddiqii; nematode; new combination; new species; New York; Pinus sylvestris; predator; scots pine; Seinura onondagensis; synonym; taxonomy
Background and Aims
Distinguishing between, and quantifying, the different components of ecosystem C fluxes is critical in predicting the responses of ecosystem C cycling to climate change. The aims of this study were to quantify the photosynthetic and respiratory fluxes of a 50-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) ecosystem, and to distinguish respiration of branches with needles from that of stems, and that of soil.
The CO2 flux of the ecosystem was continuously measured using the eddy covariance (EC) method, and its components (respiration and photosynthesis of a branch with needles, stem and soil surface) were measured with an automated chamber system, from 2001 to 2004.
All values below are chamber based. The average temperature coefficient (Q10) of respiration was 2·7, 2·2 and 4·0, respectively, for branch (Rbran), stem (Rstem) and the soil surface (Rsoil). Respiration at a reference temperature of 15 °C (R15) was 1·27, 0·49 and 4·02 µmol CO2 m−2 ground s−1 for the three components, respectively. Over 4 years, the annual Rbran, Rstem and Rsoil ranged from 196 to 256, 56 to 83 and 439 to 598 g C m−2 ground year−1, respectively, with a 4-year average of 227, 72 and 507 g C m−2 ground year−1. Annual ecosystem respiration (Reco) was 731, 783, 909 and 751 g C m−2 ground year−1 in years 2001–2004, respectively, gross primary production (GPP) was 922, 1030, 1138 and 1001 g C m−2 ground year−1, and net ecosystem production (NEP) was 191, 247, 229 and 251 g C m−2 ground year−1. The average contribution of Rbran, Rstem and Rsoil to Reco was 29, 9 and 62 %, respectively. Overstorey photosynthesis accounted for 96 % of GPP. The average Reco/GPP ratio was 0·78. Net primary production (NPP) in the 4 years was 469, 581, 600 and 551 g C m−2 year−1, respectively, with the NPP/GPP ratio 0·54 averaged over the years.
Respiration from the soil is the dominant component of ecosystem respiration. Differences between years in Reco were due to differences in temperature during the growing season. Rsoil was more sensitive to temperature than Rbran and Rstem, and differences in Rsoil were responsible for the differences in Reco between years.
Scots pine; carbon flux; stem; branch; soil; photosynthesis; respiration; ecosystem