Background and Aims
In trees, bud development is driven by endogenous and exogenous factors such as species and climate, respectively. However, knowledge is scarce on how these factors drive changes in bud size across different time scales.
The seasonal patterns of apical bud enlargement are related to primary and secondary growth in two coexisting Mediterranean oaks with contrasting leaf habit (Quercus ilex, evergreen; Quercus faginea, deciduous) over three years. In addition, the climatic factors driving changes in bud size of the two oak species were determined by correlating bud mass with climatic variables at different time scales (from 5 to 30 d) over a 15-year period.
The maximum enlargement rate of buds was reached between late July and mid-August in both species. Moreover, apical bud size increased with minimum air temperatures during the period of maximum bud enlargement rates.
The forecasted rising minimum air temperatures predicted by climatic models may affect bud size and consequently alter crown architecture differentially in sympatric Mediterranean oaks. However, the involvement of several drivers controlling the final size of buds makes it difficult to predict the changes in bud size as related to ongoing climate warming.
Bud size; current-year stem; Quercus faginea; Quercus ilex subsp. ballota; temperature; summer growth
Upward water movement in plants via the xylem is generally attributed to the cohesion–tension theory, as a response to transpiration. Under certain environmental conditions, root pressure can also contribute to upward xylem water flow. Although the occurrence of root pressure is widely recognized, ambiguity exists about the exact mechanism behind root pressure, the main influencing factors and the consequences of root pressure. In horticultural crops, such as tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), root pressure is thought to cause cells to burst, and to have an important impact on the marketable yield. Despite the challenges of root pressure research, progress in this area is limited, probably because of difficulties with direct measurement of root pressure, prompting the need for indirect and non-destructive measurement techniques.
A new approach to allow non-destructive and non-invasive estimation of root pressure is presented, using continuous measurements of sap flow and stem diameter variation in tomato combined with a mechanistic flow and storage model, based on cohesion–tension principles.
Transpiration-driven sap flow rates are typically inversely related to stem diameter changes; however, this inverse relationship was no longer valid under conditions of low transpiration. This decoupling between sap flow rates and stem diameter variations was mathematically related to root pressure.
Root pressure can be estimated in a non-destructive, repeatable manner, using only external plant sensors and a mechanistic model.
Root pressure; stem diameter; diameter change; tomato; sap flow; Solanum lycopersicum; mechanistic model; cohesion–tension; water relations
Background and Aims
Pollinator specificity facilitates reproductive isolation among plants, and mechanisms that generate specificity influence species boundaries. Long-range volatile attractants, in combination with morphological co-adaptations, are generally regarded as being responsible for maintaining extreme host specificity among the fig wasps that pollinate fig trees, but increasing evidence for breakdowns in specificity is accumulating. The basis of host specificity was examined among two host-specific Ceratosolen fig wasps that pollinate two sympatric varieties of Ficus semicordata, together with the consequences for the plants when pollinators entered the alternative host variety.
The compositions of floral scents from receptive figs of the two varieties and responses of their pollinators to these volatiles were compared. The behaviour of the wasps once on the surface of the figs was also recorded, together with the reproductive success of figs entered by the two Ceratosolen species.
The receptive-phase floral scents of the two varieties had different chemical compositions, but only one Ceratosolen species displayed a preference between them in Y-tube trials. Specificity was reinforced at a later stage, once pollinators were walking on the figs, because both species preferred to enter figs of their normal hosts. Both pollinators could enter figs of both varieties and pollinate them, but figs with extra-varietal pollen were more likely to abort and contained fewer seeds. Hybrid seeds germinated at normal rates.
Contact cues on the surface of figs have been largely ignored in previous studies of fig wasp host preferences, but together with floral scents they maintain host specificity among the pollinators of sympatric F. semicordata varieties. When pollinators enter atypical hosts, post-zygotic factors reduce but do not prevent the production of hybrid offspring, suggesting there may be gene flow between these varieties.
Contact cues; Ficus semicordata; floral scents; host recognition; hybridization; pollination; pollinator specificity; reproductive isolation
Background and Aims
This study examined the adaptive association between seed germination ecology and specialization to either forest or open habitats across a range of evolutionary lineages of seed plants, in order to test the hypotheses that (1) species' specialization to open vs. shaded habitats is consistently accompanied by specialization in their regeneration niche; and (2) species are thereby adapted to utilize different windows of opportunity in time (season) and space (habitat).
Seed germination response to temperature, light and stratification was tested for 17 congeneric pairs, each consisting of one forest species and one open-habitat species. A factorial design was used with temperature levels and diurnal temperature variation (10 °C constant, 15–5 °C fluctuating, 20 °C constant, 25–15 °C fluctuating), and two light levels (light and darkness) and a cold stratification treatment. The congeneric species pair design took phylogenetic dependence into account.
Species from open habitats germinated better at high temperatures, whereas forest species performed equally well at low and high temperatures. Forest species tended to germinate only after a period of cold stratification that could break dormancy, while species from open habitats generally germinated without cold stratification. The empirically derived germination strategies correspond quite well with establishment opportunities for forest and open-habitat plant species in nature.
Annual changes in temperature and light regime in temperate forest delimit windows of opportunity for germination and establishment. Germination strategies of forest plants are adaptations to utilize such narrow windows in time. Conversely, lack of fit between germination ecology and environment may explain why species of open habitats generally fail to establish in forests. Germination strategy should be considered an important mechanism for habitat specialization in temperate herbs to forest habitats. The findings strongly suggest that phases in the plant life cycle other than the established phase should be considered important in adaptive specialization.
Habitat specialization; germination cueing; beta niche; dormancy; forest herbs; phylogenetically independent contrasts (PICs); plant functional traits; regeneration niche; shade; monocotyledons; dicotyledons
Background and Aims
Facilitation among plants in water-limited environments (i.e. where evapotranspiration overcomes the availability of water during the growing season) has been considered a local adaptation to water and light conditions. Among cacti, early life-history stages can benefit from the facilitative effects of nurse plants that reduce solar radiation and water stress. However, whether light condition itself acts as an agent of selection through facilitation remains untested. The aim of this study was to determine (1) whether light conditions affect seedling recruitment, (2) whether the positive effect of shade on seedling recruitment is more intense under more stressful conditions and (3) whether shade condition (facilitation) reduces the magnitude of local adaptation on seedling recruitment relative to full sunlight conditions.
A reciprocal transplant experiment, coupled with the artificial manipulation of sun/shade conditions, was performed to test for the effects of local adaptation on germination, seedling survival and growth, using two demes of the columnar cactus Pilosocereus leucocephalus, representing different intensities of stressful conditions.
Full sunlight conditions reduced recruitment success and supported the expectation of lower recruitment in more stressful environments. Significant local adaptation was mainly detected under full sunlight conditions, indicating that this environmental factor acts as an agent of selection at both sites.
The results supported the expectation that the magnitude of local adaptation, driven by the effects of facilitative nurse plants, is less intense under reduced stressful conditions. This study is the first to demonstrate that sun/shade conditions act as a selective agent accounting for local adaptation in water-limited environments, and that facilitation provided by nurse plants in these environments can attenuate the patterns of local adaptation among plants benefiting from the nurse effect.
Dry forest; facilitation; germination; local adaptation; Mexico; nurse-plant syndrome; Pilosocereus leucocephalus; reciprocal transplant experiment; seedling growth; seedling survival
Background and Aims Trithuria
is the sole genus of Hydatellaceae, a family of the early-divergent angiosperm lineage Nymphaeales (water-lilies). In this study different arabinogalactan protein (AGP) epitopes in T. submersa were evaluated in order to understand the diversity of these proteins and their functions in flowering plants.
Immunolabelling of different AGPs and pectin epitopes in reproductive structures of T. submersa at the stage of early seed development was achieved by immunofluorescence of specific antibodies.
AGPs in Trithuria pistil tissues could be important as structural proteins and also as possible signalling molecules. Intense labelling was obtained with anti-AGP antibodies both in the anthers and in the intine wall, the latter associated with pollen tube emergence.
AGPs could play a significant role in Trithuria reproduction, due to their specific presence in the pollen tube pathway. The results agree with labellings obtained for Arabidopsis and confirms the importance of AGPs in angiosperm reproductive structures as essential structural components and probably important signalling molecules.
Trithuria; Hydatellaceae; arabinogalactan proteins; monoclonal antibodies; reproductive units; starch grains
Heathlands are dynamic plant communities characterized by a high cover of sclerophyllous, ericoid shrubs that develop over nutrient-poor soils. Interest in the preservation of these habitats in Europe has increased over the last decades, but over this time there has been a general decline in habitat quality, affecting community structure, ecosystem functions and biodiversity. Negative drivers that trigger these changes include land-use changes (i.e. habitat destruction and fragmentation), pollution, climate change, natural succession and human management, as well as the presence of invasive exotic species.
Based on recent scientific literature, the effect of each of these potential drivers on a wide set of factors, including physiological traits, species richness and diversity, community structure, ecosystem functions and soil conditions, is reviewed. The effects of these drivers are generally understood, but the direction and magnitude of factor interactions, whenever studied, have shown high variability.
Habitat loss and fragmentation affect sensitive species and ecosystem functions. The nature of the surrounding area will condition the quality of the heathland remnants by, for example, propagule pressure from invasive species. The dominant ericoid shrubs can be out-competed by vigorous perennial grasses with increased atmospheric nitrogen deposition, although interactions with climate and management practices may either counteract or enhance this process. Grazing or periodic burning promotes heath loss but site-specific combined treatments maintain species diversity and community structure. Climate change alone moderately affects plant diversity, community structure and ecosystem functions. Combined with other factors, climatic changes will condition heath development, mainly with regard to key aspects such as seed set and seedling establishment, rare species occurrence and nutrient cycling in the soil. It is essential to address the effects of not only individual factors, but their interactions, together with land-use history, on heathland development and conservation in order to predict habitat response to future scenarios.
Heathlands; Europe; pollution; climate change; land-use change; natural succession; biological invasions; grazing; burning; biodiversity; fynbos; environmental interactions
Background and Aims
Spontaneous male sterility is an advantageous trait for both constructing efficient pollination control systems and for understanding the developmental process of the male reproductive unit in many crops. A triallelic genetic male-sterile locus (BnMs5) has been identified in Brassica napus; however, its complicated genome structure has greatly hampered the isolation of this locus. The aim of this study was to physically map BnMs5 through an integrated map-based cloning strategy and analyse the local chromosomal evolution around BnMs5.
A large F2 population was used to integrate the existing genetic maps around BnMs5. A map-based cloning strategy in combination with comparative mapping among B. napus, Arabidopsis, Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea was employed to facilitate the identification of a target bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone covering the BnMs5 locus. The genomic sequences from the Brassica species were analysed to reveal the regional chromosomal evolution around BnMs5.
BnMs5 was finally delimited to a 0·3-cM genetic fragment from an integrated local genetic map, and was anchored on the B. napus A8 chromosome. Screening of a B. napus BAC clone library and identification of the positive clones validated that JBnB034L06 was the target BAC clone. The closest flanking markers restrict BnMs5 to a 21-kb region on JBnB034L06 containing six predicted functional genes. Good collinearity relationship around BnMs5 between several Brassica species was observed, while violent chromosomal evolutionary events including insertions/deletions, duplications and single nucleotide mutations were also found to have extensively occurred during their divergence.
This work represents major progress towards the molecular cloning of BnMs5, as well as presenting a powerful, integrative method to mapping loci in plants with complex genomic architecture, such as the amphidiploid B. napus.
Brassica napus; Brassica rapa; Brassica oleracea; genetic male sterility; triallelic genic male-sterile locus BnMs5; comparative mapping; map-based cloning
Background and Aims
Heterostyly and related style polymorphisms are suitable model systems to evaluate the importance of functional pollinators in the maintenance of population variability. In Narcissus papyraceus different functional pollinators, incompatibility system and flower morphology have been proposed to influence the maintenance of polymorphism through their effect on disassortative mating. Here a test is done to find out if the visitation rate of long- versus short-tongued pollinators correlates with the morph ratio and if the latter is related to other flower traits of the species across its main geographic range.
Floral traits from 34 populations in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula and in north-west Africa were measured, perianth variation was described and a comparison was made of allometric relationships between sex organs and floral tube. Correlations between pollinator guilds, stigma–anther separation of reciprocal morphs (our proxy for disassortative mating) and morph-ratio variation were analysed. Finally, the incompatibility system of the species in the northern and southern borders of its distribution are described.
Flowers from southern populations were significantly larger than flowers from centre and northern populations. The abundance of short-styled plants decreased gradually with increasing distance from the core region (the Strait of Gibraltar), with these disappearing only in the northern range. Although there was a significant difference in stigma–anther separation among populations, morph ratio was not associated with reciprocity or floral tube length. Long-style morph frequency increased with short-tongued pollinator visitation rate. Populations from both edges of the distribution range were self-incompatible and within- and between-morph compatible.
The style morph ratio changed gradually, whereas perianth trait variation showed abrupt changes with two morphotypes across the range. The positive relationship between the visitation rate of short-tongued pollinators and the decrease of the short-style morph supports our initial hypothesis. The results highlight the importance of different pollinators in determining the presence of style polymorphism.
Disassortative mating; floral morphology; geographic variation; morph ratio; Narcissus papyraceus; pollinators; stylar dimorphism
Background and Aims
Under stress-promoting conditions unicellular algae can undergo programmed cell death (PCD) but the mechanisms of algal cellular suicide are still poorly understood. In this work, the involvement of caspase-like proteases, DNA cleavage and the morphological occurrence of cell death in wasp venom mastoparan (MP)-treated Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were studied.
Algal cells were exposed to MP and cell death was analysed over time. Specific caspase inhibitors were employed to elucidate the possible role of caspase-like proteases. YVADase activity (presumably a vacuolar processing enzyme) was assayed by using a fluorogenic caspase-1 substrate. DNA breakdown was evaluated by DNA laddering and Comet analysis. Cellular morphology was examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy.
MP-treated C. reinhardtii cells expressed several features of necrosis (protoplast shrinkage) and vacuolar cell death (lytic vesicles, vacuolization, empty cell-walled corpse-containing remains of digested protoplast) sometimes within one single cell and in different individual cells. Nucleus compaction and DNA fragmentation were detected. YVADase activity was rapidly stimulated in response to MP but the early cell death was not inhibited by caspase inhibitors. At later time points, however, the caspase inhibitors were effective in cell-death suppression. Conditioned medium from MP-treated cells offered protection against MP-induced cell death.
In C. reinhardtii MP triggered PCD of atypical phenotype comprising features of vacuolar and necrotic cell deaths, reminiscent of the modality of hypersensitive response. It was assumed that depending on the physiological state and sensitivity of the cells to MP, the early cell-death phase might be not mediated by caspase-like enzymes, whereas later cell death may involve caspase-like-dependent proteolysis. The findings substantiate the hypothesis that, depending on the mode of induction and sensitivity of the cells, algal PCD may take different forms and proceed through different pathways.
Caspase-like proteases; cell death phenotype; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; DNA disintegration; mastoparan; programmed cell death; signalling; YVADase
Background and Aims
Three ecological relationships are possible between co-flowering plant species; they may have no effect on one another, compete for pollination services, or facilitate one another by attracting more pollinators to the area. In this study, the pollinator-mediated relationship between two mangrove species with overlapping flowering phenologies was investigated in one south Florida community.
Pollinator observations were recorded between 0900 h and 1700 h during June and July, 2008–2010. Insect visitation rates to Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa were estimated from 522 observation intervals of 10 min during three phenological time periods, when each species flowered alone and when they co-flowered. The number of timed intervals varied between years due to differences in flowering phenology, from four to 42 for A. germinans and from nine to 94 for L. racemosa.
Avicennia germinans began flowering first in all years, and insect visitation rates were significantly greater to A. germinans than to L. racemosa (P<0·001). Flowers of both species received visits from bees, wasps, flies and butterflies; Apis mellifera was the most common floral visitor to both species. Visitation rates to L. racemosa increased significantly when A. germinans stopped flowering (P<0·001). However, there was no significant change in visitation rates to A. germinans after L. racemosa began flowering (P=0·628).
When they co-flowered, A. germinans outcompeted L. racemosa for pollinators. Laguncularia racemosa hermaphrodites self-pollinate autogamously when not visited by insects, so reduced visitation to L. racemosa flowers reduced the frequency of outcrossing and increased the frequency of selfing. Reduced outcrossing limits male reproductive success in this androdioecious species, which could lead to changes in the breeding system. The degree of overlap in flowering phenologies varied between years, so the effect on the mating and breeding system may differ between years.
Androdioecy; Apis mellifera; Avicennia germinans; Florida; flowering phenology; insect visitation rate; Laguncularia racemosa; mixed mating system; pollinator-mediated interaction
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.
‘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.
Adhesion; atomic force microscopy; gas exchange; leaf mass per area; modulus of elasticity; Ophiostoma novo-ulmi; tracheary element
Background and Aims
The coffee genus (Coffea) comprises 124 species, and is indigenous to the Old World Tropics. Due to its immense economic importance, Coffea has been the focus of numerous genetic diversity studies, but despite this effort it remains insufficiently studied. In this study the genetic diversity and genetic structure of Coffea across Africa and the Indian Ocean islands is investigated.
Genetic data were produced using 13 polymorphic nuclear microsatellite markers (simple sequence repeats, SSRs), including seven expressed sequence tag-SSRs, and the data were analysed using model- and non-model-based methods. The study includes a total of 728 individuals from 60 species.
Across Africa and the Indian Ocean islands Coffea comprises a closely related group of species with an overall pattern of genotypes running from west to east. Genetic structure was identified in accordance with pre-determined geographical regions and phylogenetic groups. There is a good relationship between morpho-taxonomic species delimitations and genetic units. Genetic diversity in African and Indian Ocean Coffea is high in terms of number of alleles detected, and Madagascar appears to represent a place of significant diversification in terms of allelic richness and species diversity.
Cross-species SSR transferability in African and Indian Ocean islands Coffea was very efficient. On the basis of the number of private alleles, diversification in East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands appears to be more recent than in West and West-Central Africa, although this general trend is complicated in Africa by the position of species belonging to lineages connecting the main geographical regions. The general pattern of phylogeography is not in agreement with an overall east to west (Mascarene, Madagascar, East Africa, West Africa) increase in genome size, the high proportion of shared alleles between the four regions or the high numbers of exclusive shared alleles between pairs or triplets of regions.
Africa; Coffea; coffee; crop wild relatives (CWRs); genetic diversity; genetic structure; Indian Ocean islands; Madagascar; Mascarenes; microsatellites; Rubiaceae; simple sequence repeats (SSRs)
Background and Aims
Rumex bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis is an endemic taxon to Macaronesia with diaspore polymorphism. The origin and colonizing route of this taxon in Macaronesia was studied using molecular data and information on diaspore types.
Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was used in 260 plants from 22 populations of R. bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis, four from the Madeiran archipelago and 18 from the Canary archipelago. Diaspore production was analysed in 9–50 plants from each population used for AFLP analysis. One hundred and one plants from the Madeiran archipelago and 375 plants from the Canary Islands were studied. For each plant the type of diaspore produced was recorded.
Overall populations had low genetic diversity but they showed a geographical pattern of genetic diversity that was higher in the older eastern islands than in the younger western ones. Two types of dispersible diaspores were found: in the eastern Canary islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria), plants produced exclusively long-dispersible diaspores, whereas in the western Canary islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro) and the Madeiran archipelago plants produced exclusively short-dispersible diaspores. Genetically, the studied populations fell into four main island groups: Lanzarote–Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife–El Hierro and La Gomera–Madeira archipelago.
A Moroccan origin of R. bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis is hypothesized with a colonization route from the eastern to the western islands. In addition, at least one gene flow event from La Gomera to the Madeiran archipelago has taken place. During the colonization process the type of dispersible diaspore changed so that dispersability decreased in populations of the westernmost islands.
Rumex bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis; Polygonaceae; Macaronesia; Canary archipelago; Madeiran archipelago; AFLP; heterocarpy; colonization events; diaspore polymorphism
Background and Aims
Despite differences in morphology, the genera representing ‘true citrus fruit trees’ are sexually compatible, and their phylogenetic relationships remain unclear. Most of the important commercial ‘species’ of Citrus are believed to be of interspecific origin. By studying polymorphisms of 27 nuclear genes, the average molecular differentiation between species was estimated and some phylogenetic relationships between ‘true citrus fruit trees’ were clarified.
Sanger sequencing of PCR-amplified fragments from 18 genes involved in metabolite biosynthesis pathways and nine putative genes for salt tolerance was performed for 45 genotypes of Citrus and relatives of Citrus to mine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and indel polymorphisms. Fifty nuclear simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were also analysed.
A total of 16 238 kb of DNA was sequenced for each genotype, and 1097 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 50 indels were identified. These polymorphisms were more valuable than SSRs for inter-taxon differentiation. Nuclear phylogenetic analysis revealed that Citrus reticulata and Fortunella form a cluster that is differentiated from the clade that includes three other basic taxa of cultivated citrus (C. maxima, C. medica and C. micrantha). These results confirm the taxonomic subdivision between the subgenera Metacitrus and Archicitrus. A few genes displayed positive selection patterns within or between species, but most of them displayed neutral patterns. The phylogenetic inheritance patterns of the analysed genes were inferred for commercial Citrus spp.
Numerous molecular polymorphisms (SNPs and indels), which are potentially useful for the analysis of interspecific genetic structures, have been identified. The nuclear phylogenetic network for Citrus and its sexually compatible relatives was consistent with the geographical origins of these genera. The positive selection observed for a few genes will help further works to analyse the molecular basis of the variability of the associated traits. This study presents new insights into the origin of C. sinensis.
Phylogeny; evolution; SNP; indel; SSR; Rutaceae; Citrus; Fortunella; Microcitrus; Eremocitrus; Poncirus
Background and Aims
Plants use a diverse range of visual and olfactory cues to advertize to pollinators. Australian Chiloglottis orchids employ one to three related chemical variants, all 2,5-dialkylcyclohexane-1,3-diones or ‘chiloglottones’ to sexually attract their specific male pollinators. Here an investigation was made of the physiological aspects of chiloglottone synthesis and storage that have not previously been examined.
The location of chiloglottone production was determined and developmental and diurnal changes by GC-MS analysis of floral tissue extracts was monitored in two distantly related Chiloglottis species. Light treatment experiments were also performed using depleted flowers to evaluate if sunlight is required for chiloglottone production; which specific wavelengths of light are required was also determined.
Chiloglottone production only occurs in specific floral tissues (the labellum calli and sepals) of open flowers. Upon flower opening chiloglottone production is rapid and levels remain more or less stable both day and night, and over the 2- to 3-week lifetime of the flower. Furthermore, it was determined that chiloglottone production requires continuous sunlight, and determined the optimal wavelengths of sunlight in the UV-B range (with peak of 300 nm).
UV-B light is required for the synthesis of chiloglottones – the semiochemicals used by Chiloglottis orchids to sexually lure their male pollinators. This discovery appears to be the first case to our knowledge where plant floral odour production depends on UV-B radiation at normal levels of sunlight. In the future, identification of the genes and enzymes involved, will allow us to understand better the role of UV-B light in the biosynthesis of chiloglottones.
Chiloglottis trapeziformis; C. seminuda; UV-B, sexual deception; floral odour; pollination; 2,5-dialkylcyclohexane-1,3-diones; secondary metabolism; specialized metabolites
Carbon assimilation and leaf-to-fruit sugar transport are, along with plant water status, the driving mechanisms for fruit growth. An integrated comprehension of the plant water and carbon relationships is therefore essential to better understand water and dry matter accumulation. Variations in stem diameter result from an integrated response to plant water and carbon status and are as such a valuable source of information.
A mechanistic water flow and storage model was used to relate variations in stem diameter to phloem sugar loading and sugar concentration dynamics in tomato. The simulation results were compared with an independent model, simulating phloem sucrose loading at the leaf level based on photosynthesis and sugar metabolism kinetics and enabled a mechanistic interpretation of the ‘one common assimilate pool’ concept for tomato.
Combining stem diameter variation measurements and mechanistic modelling allowed us to distinguish instantaneous dynamics in the plant water relations and gradual variations in plant carbon status. Additionally, the model combined with stem diameter measurements enabled prediction of dynamic variables which are difficult to measure in a continuous and non-destructive way, such as xylem water potential and phloem hydrostatic potential. Finally, dynamics in phloem sugar loading and sugar concentration were distilled from stem diameter variations.
Stem diameter variations, when used in mechanistic models, have great potential to continuously monitor and interpret plant water and carbon relations under natural growing conditions.
Tomato; plant–water relations; mechanistic model; carbon translocation; fruit growth; turgor; Solanum lycopersicum
Background and Aims
Acidic soils are dominated chemically by more ammonium and more available, so more potentially toxic, aluminium compared with neutral to calcareous soils, which are characterized by more nitrate and less available, so less toxic, aluminium. However, it is not known whether aluminium tolerance and nitrogen source preference are linked in plants.
This question was investigated by comparing the responses of 30 rice (Oryza sativa) varieties (15 subsp. japonica cultivars and 15 subsp. indica cultivars) to aluminium, various ammonium/nitrate ratios and their combinations under acidic solution conditions.
indica rice plants were generally found to be aluminium-sensitive and nitrate-preferring, while japonica cultivars were aluminium-tolerant and relatively ammonium-preferring. Aluminium tolerance of different rice varieties was significantly negatively correlated with their nitrate preference. Furthermore, aluminium enhanced ammonium-fed rice growth but inhibited nitrate-fed rice growth.
The results suggest that aluminium tolerance in rice is antagonistic with nitrate preference and synergistic with ammonium preference under acidic solution conditions. A schematic diagram summarizing the interactions of aluminium and nitrogen in soil–plant ecosystems is presented and provides a new basis for the integrated management of acidic soils.
Aluminium; ammonium; correlation; Indica; Japonica; nitrate; rice
Background and Aims
Frankincense, a gum-resin, has been tapped from Boswellia papyrifera trees for centuries. Despite the intensive tapping and economic interest of B. papyrifera, information on the resin secretory structures, which are responsible for synthesis, storage and transport of frankincense, is virtually absent. This study describes the type, architecture and distribution of resin secretory structures of B. papyrifera and its relevance for the ecophysiology and economic use of the tree.
The type and architecture of resin secretory structures present in bark and wood was investigated from transversal, tangential and radial sections of bark and wood samples. The diameter and density (number of resin canals mm−2) of axial resin canals were determined from digital images of thin sections across the different zones of inner bark.
Resin canals form a three-dimensional network within the inner bark. Yet, the intact resin-conducting and producing network is on average limited to the inner 6·6 mm of the inner bark. Within the inner bark, the density of non-lignified axial resin canals decreases and the density of lignified resin canals increases from the vascular cambium towards the outer bark. In the wood, only radial resin canals were encountered.
Frankincense tapping techniques can be improved based on knowledge of bark anatomy and distribution and architecture of resin secretory structures. The suggested new techniques will contribute to a more sustainable frankincense production that enhances the contribution of frankincense to rural livelihoods and the national economy.
Boswellia papyrifera; frankincense; resin secretory structures; resin canal; bark anatomy; tapping
Background and Aims
The genus Arachis contains 80 described species. Section Arachis is of particular interest because it includes cultivated peanut, an allotetraploid, and closely related wild species, most of which are diploids. This study aimed to analyse the genetic relationships of multiple accessions of section Arachis species using two complementary methods. Microsatellites allowed the analysis of inter- and intraspecific variability. Intron sequences from single-copy genes allowed phylogenetic analysis including the separation of the allotetraploid genome components.
Intron sequences and microsatellite markers were used to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships in section Arachis through maximum parsimony and genetic distance analyses.
Although high intraspecific variability was evident, there was good support for most species. However, some problems were revealed, notably a probable polyphyletic origin for A. kuhlmannii. The validity of the genome groups was well supported. The F, K and D genomes grouped close to the A genome group. The 2n = 18 species grouped closer to the B genome group. The phylogenetic tree based on the intron data strongly indicated that A. duranensis and A. ipaënsis are the ancestors of A. hypogaea and A. monticola. Intron nucleotide substitutions allowed the ages of divergences of the main genome groups to be estimated at a relatively recent 2·3–2·9 million years ago. This age and the number of species described indicate a much higher speciation rate for section Arachis than for legumes in general.
The analyses revealed relationships between the species and genome groups and showed a generally high level of intraspecific genetic diversity. The improved knowledge of species relationships should facilitate the utilization of wild species for peanut improvement. The estimates of speciation rates in section Arachis are high, but not unprecedented. We suggest these high rates may be linked to the peculiar reproductive biology of Arachis.
Arachis; peanut; groundnut; intron sequences; single-copy genes; molecular phylogeny; microsatellites; genetic relationships; speciation rates; genome donors; molecular dating
Background and Aims
This study aims to determine the role that both direct effects of fire and subsequent daily temperature fluctuations play in the seed bank dynamics of obligate seeders from the Mediterranean Basin. The short yet high soil temperatures experienced due to passage of fire are conflated with the lower, but longer, temperatures experienced by daily fluctuations which occur after removing vegetation. These germination cues are able to break seed dormancy, but it is difficult to assess their specific level of influence because they occur consecutively after summer fires, just before the flush of germination in the wet season (autumn).
By applying experimental fires, seed treatments were imposed that combined fire exposure/non-fire exposure with exposure to microhabitats under a gradient of disturbance (i.e. gaps opened by fire, mechanical brushing and intact vegetation). The seeds used were representative of the main families of obligate seeders (Ulex parviflorus, Cistus albidus and Rosmarinus officinalis). Specifically, an assessment was made of (1) the proportion of seeds killed by fire, (2) seedling emergence under field conditions and (3) seeds which remained ungerminated in soil.
For the three species studied, the factors that most influenced seedling emergence and seeds remaining ungerminated were microhabitats with higher temperature fluctuations after fire (gaps opened by fire and brushing treatments). The direct effect of fire decreased the seedling emergence of U. parviflorus and reduced the proportion of seeds of R. officinalis remaining ungerminated.
The relevance of depleting vegetation (and subsequent daily temperature fluctuation in summer) suggests that studies focusing on lower temperature thresholds for breaking seed dormancy are required. This fact also supports the hypothesis that the seeding capacity in Mediterranean Basin obligate seeders may have evolved as a response to a wide range of disturbances, and not exclusively to fire.
Adaptation; Cistus albidus; exaptation; fire-adaptative trait; fire heat; post-fire germination; Rosmarinus officinalis; seed bank dynamics; seedling emergence; temperature fluctuation; Ulex parviflorus
Background and Aims
The genus Carex exhibits karyological peculiarities related to holocentrism, specifically extremely broad and almost continual variation in chromosome number. However, the effect of these peculiarities on the evolution of the genome (genome size, base composition) remains unknown. While in monocentrics, determining the arithmetic relationship between the chromosome numbers of related species is usually sufficient for the detection of particular modes of karyotype evolution (i.e. polyploidy and dysploidy), in holocentrics where chromosomal fission and fusion occur such detection requires knowledge of the DNA content.
The genome size and GC content were estimated in 157 taxa using flow cytometry. The exact chromosome numbers were known for 96 measured samples and were taken from the available literature for other taxa. All relationships were tested in a phylogenetic framework using the ITS tree of 105 species.
The 1C genome size varied between 0·24 and 1·64 pg in Carex secalina and C. cuspidata, respectively. The genomic GC content varied from 34·8 % to 40·6 % from C. secalina to C. firma. Both genomic parameters were positively correlated. Seven polyploid and two potentially polyploid taxa were detected in the core Carex clade. A strong negative correlation between genome size and chromosome number was documented in non-polyploid taxa. Non-polyploid taxa of the core Carex clade exhibited a higher rate of genome-size evolution compared with the Vignea clade. Three dioecious taxa exhibited larger genomes, larger chromosomes, and a higher GC content than their hermaphrodite relatives.
Genomes of Carex are relatively small and very GC-poor compared with other angiosperms. We conclude that the evolution of genome and karyotype in Carex is promoted by frequent chromosomal fissions/fusions, rare polyploidy and common repetitive DNA proliferation/removal.
Agmatoploidy; AT/GC ratio; chromosomal fusion and fission; chromosome numbers; DNA content; flow cytometry; GC content; karyotype; phylogeny; polyploidy; symploidy