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1.  Leaf trait dissimilarities between Dutch elm hybrids with a contrasting tolerance to Dutch elm disease 
Annals of Botany  2012;111(2):215-227.
Background and Aims
Previous studies have shown that Ophiostoma novo-ulmi, the causative agent of Dutch elm disease (DED), is able to colonize remote areas in infected plants of Ulmus such as the leaf midrib and secondary veins. The objective of this study was to compare the performances in leaf traits between two Dutch elm hybrids ‘Groeneveld’ and ‘Dodoens’ which possess a contrasting tolerance to DED. Trait linkages were also tested with leaf mass per area (LMA) and with the reduced Young's modulus of elasticity (MOE) as a result of structural, developmental or functional linkages.
Measurements and comparisons were made of leaf growth traits, primary xylem density components, gas exchange variables and chlorophyll a fluorescence yields between mature plants of ‘Groeneveld’ and ‘Dodoens’ grown under field conditions. A recently developed atomic force microscopy technique, PeakForce quantitative nanomechanical mapping, was used to reveal nanomechanical properties of the cell walls of tracheary elements such as MOE, adhesion and dissipation.
Key Results
‘Dodoens’ had significantly higher values for LMA, leaf tissue thickness variables, tracheary element lumen area (A), relative hydraulic conductivity (RC), gas exchange variables and chlorophyll a fluorescence yields. ‘Groeneveld’ had stiffer cell walls of tracheary elements, and higher values for water-use efficiency and leaf water potential. Leaves with a large carbon and nutrient investment in LMA tended to have a greater leaf thickness and a higher net photosynthetic rate, but LMA was independent of RC. Significant linkages were also found between the MOE and some vascular traits such as RC, A and the number of tracheary elements per unit area.
Strong dissimilarities in leaf trait performances were observed between the examined Dutch elm hybrids. Both hybrids were clearly separated from each other in the multivariate leaf trait space. Leaf growth, vascular and gas exchange traits in the infected plants of ‘Dodoens’ were unaffected by the DED fungus. ‘Dodoens’ proved to be a valuable elm germplasm for further breeding strategies.
PMCID: PMC3555532  PMID: 23264236
Adhesion; atomic force microscopy; gas exchange; leaf mass per area; modulus of elasticity; Ophiostoma novo-ulmi; tracheary element
2.  Similar Gender Dimorphism in the Costs of Reproduction across the Geographic Range of Fraxinus ornus 
Annals of Botany  2006;99(1):183-191.
Background and Aims
The reproductive costs for individuals with the female function have been hypothesized to be greater than for those with the male function because the allocation unit per female flower is very high due to the necessity to nurture the embryos until seed dispersal occurs, while the male reproductive allocation per flower is lower because it finishes once pollen is shed. Consequently, males may invest more resources in growth than females. This prediction was tested across a wide geographical range in a tree with a dimorphic breeding system (Fraxinus ornus) consisting of males and hermaphrodites functioning as females. The contrasting ecological conditions found across the geographical range allowed the evaluation of the hypothesis that the reproductive costs of sexual dimorphism varies with environmental stressors.
By using random-effects meta-analysis, the differences in the reproductive and vegetative investment of male and hermaphrodite trees of F. ornus were analysed in 10 populations from the northern (Slovakia), south-eastern (Greece) and south-western (Spain) limits of its European distribution. The variation in gender-dimorphism with environmental stress was analysed by running a meta-regression between these effect sizes and the two environmental stress indicators: one related to temperature (the frost-free period) and another related to water availability (moisture deficit).
Key Results
Most of the effect sizes showed that males produced more flowers and grew more quickly than hermaphrodites. Gender differences in reproduction and growth were not minimized or maximized under adverse climatic conditions such as short frost-free periods or severe aridity.
The lower costs of reproduction for F. ornus males allow them to grow more quickly than hermaphrodites, although such differences in sex-specific reproductive costs are not magnified under stressful conditions.
PMCID: PMC2802980  PMID: 17098751
Costs of reproduction; Fraxinus ornus; meta-analysis; sexual dimorphism

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