Background and Aims
The genus Salvia has traditionally included any member of the tribe Mentheae (Lamiaceae) with only two stamens and with each stamen expressing an elongate connective. The recent demonstration of the non-monophyly of the genus presents interesting implications for staminal evolution in the tribe Mentheae. In the context of a molecular phylogeny, the staminal morphology of the various lineages of Salvia and related genera is characterized and an evolutionary interpretation of staminal variation within the tribe Mentheae is presented.
Two molecular analyses are presented in order to investigate phylogenetic relationships in the tribe Mentheae and the genus Salvia. The first presents a tribal survey of the Mentheae and the second concentrates on Salvia and related genera. Schematic sketches are presented for the staminal morphology of each major lineage of Salvia and related genera.
These analyses suggest an independent origin of the staminal elongate connective on at least three different occasions within the tribe Mentheae, each time with a distinct morphology. Each independent origin of the lever mechanism shows a similar progression of staminal change from slight elongation of the connective tissue separating two fertile thecae to abortion of the posterior thecae and fusion of adjacent posterior thecae. A monophyletic lineage within the Mentheae is characterized consisting of the genera Lepechinia, Melissa, Salvia, Dorystaechas, Meriandra, Zhumeria, Perovskia and Rosmarinus.
Based on these results the following are characterized: (1) the independent origin of the staminal lever mechanism on at least three different occasions in Salvia, (2) that Salvia is clearly polyphyletic, with five other genera intercalated within it, and (3) staminal evolution has proceeded in different ways in each of the three lineages of Salvia but has resulted in remarkably similar staminal morphologies.
Staminal morphology; Salvia; Mentheae; Dorystaechas; Meriandra; Perovskia; Rosmarinus; Zhumeria; Lepechinia; Melissa; key innovation; floral evolution
Background and Aims
Intermediate individuals (perfect flowers with very high degree of pollen abortion) in a gynodioecious plant species are very rare. A study is made of male–female relationships in each flower type and how floral characters can enhance the avoidance of ‘pollen discounting’ and ‘self-pollination’ in two gynodioecious species, Teucrium capitatum and Origanum syriacum.
The relationship between stigma receptivity and pollen viability was studied in two gynodioecious protandrous species of Lamiaceae, in addition to measuring some floral morphological characters over the life span of the flowers.
Three plant types in each species were found: plants bearing hermaphrodite (or male fertile) flowers (MF), female (or male sterile) flowers (MS) and intermediate flowers (INT). Plant types differed in flower size, with MS types being shorter than the other two types. There was no difference in style length among plant types in T. capitatum. Stigma receptivity decayed with floral age and was negative and significantly correlated with pollen viability in the two species, and positive and significantly correlated with style length in O. syriacum but only in MS flowers of T. capitatum.
Reduction in size of floral characters is associated with male sterility, except style length in T. capitatum. MF flowers have two successive reproductive impediments: self-pollination and pollen–stigma interference. In both species, self-pollination is avoided by dichogamy (negative correlation between stigma receptivity and pollen viability), and pollen–stigma interference shows two different patterns: (1) style elongation in O. syriacum is characterized by a significant length increase, final MF dimensions are greater than those of MS dimensions, and style length is positively and significantly correlated with stigma receptivity; and (2) style movement in T. capitatum is characterized by a non-significant increase in style length, final MF floral dimensions are similar to those of MS dimensions, and there is no correlation between style length and stigma receptivity.
Dichogamy; gynodioecy; Lamiaceae; Origanum syriacum; pollen discounting; pollen–stigma interference; pollen viability; protandry; stigma receptivity; style movement; style elongation; Teucrium capitatum
Background and Aims
A standardized methodology to assess the impacts of land-use changes on vegetation and ecosystem functioning is presented. It assumes that species traits are central to these impacts, and is designed to be applicable in different historical, climatic contexts and local settings. Preliminary results are presented to show its applicability.
Eleven sites, representative of various types of land-use changes occurring in marginal agro-ecosystems across Europe and Israel, were selected. Climatic data were obtained at the site level; soil data, disturbance and nutrition indices were described at the plot level within sites. Sixteen traits describing plant stature, leaf characteristics and reproductive phase were recorded on the most abundant species of each treatment. These data were combined with species abundance to calculate trait values weighed by the abundance of species in the communities. The ecosystem properties selected were components of above-ground net primary productivity and decomposition of litter.
The wide variety of land-use systems that characterize marginal landscapes across Europe was reflected by the different disturbance indices, and were also reflected in soil and/or nutrient availability gradients. The trait toolkit allowed us to describe adequately the functional response of vegetation to land-use changes, but we suggest that some traits (vegetative plant height, stem dry matter content) should be omitted in studies involving mainly herbaceous species. Using the example of the relationship between leaf dry matter content and above-ground dead material, we demonstrate how the data collected may be used to analyse direct effects of climate and land use on ecosystem properties vs. indirect effects via changes in plant traits.
This work shows the applicability of a set of protocols that can be widely applied to assess the impacts of global change drivers on species, communities and ecosystems.
Climate gradient; disturbance; ecosystem properties; European marginal agriculture; land-use change; methods; nutrient limitation; plant community; plant functional traits; soil properties
Background and Aims
When ecologically important plant traits are correlated they may be said to constitute an ecological ‘strategy’ dimension. Through identifying these dimensions and understanding their inter-relationships we gain insight into why particular trait combinations are favoured over others and into the implications of trait differences among species. Here we investigated relationships among several traits, and thus the strategy dimensions they represented, across 2134 woody species from seven Neotropical forests.
Six traits were studied: specific leaf area (SLA), the average size of leaves, seed and fruit, typical maximum plant height, and wood density (WD). Trait relationships were quantified across species at each individual forest as well as across the dataset as a whole. ‘Phylogenetic’ analyses were used to test for correlations among evolutionary trait-divergences and to ascertain whether interspecific relationships were biased by strong taxonomic patterning in the traits.
The interspecific and phylogenetic analyses yielded congruent results. Seed and fruit size were expected, and confirmed, to be tightly related. As expected, plant height was correlated with each of seed and fruit size, albeit weakly. Weak support was found for an expected positive relationship between leaf and fruit size. The prediction that SLA and WD would be negatively correlated was not supported. Otherwise the traits were predicted to be largely unrelated, being representatives of putatively independent strategy dimensions. This was indeed the case, although WD was consistently, negatively related to leaf size.
The dimensions represented by SLA, seed/fruit size and leaf size were essentially independent and thus conveyed largely independent information about plant strategies. To a lesser extent the same was true for plant height and WD. Our tentative explanation for negative WD–leaf size relationships, now also known from other habitats, is that the traits are indirectly linked via plant hydraulics.
Fruit size; leaf size; phylogenetically independent contrasts; plant height; plant strategies; seed size; specific leaf area; tropical rainforest ecology; wood density
The continuity of chloroplasts is maintained by division of pre-existing chloroplasts. Chloroplasts originated as bacterial endosymbionts; however, the majority of bacterial division factors are absent from chloroplasts and the eukaryotic host has added several new components. For example, the ftsZ gene has been duplicated and modified, and the Min system has retained MinE and MinD but lost MinC, acquiring at least one new component ARC3. Further, the mechanism has evolved to include two members of the dynamin protein family, ARC5 and FZL, and plastid-dividing (PD) rings were most probably added by the eukaryotic host.
Deciphering how the division of plastids is coordinated and controlled by nuclear-encoded factors is key to our understanding of this important biological process. Through a number of molecular-genetic and biochemical approaches, it is evident that FtsZ initiates plastid division where the coordinated action of MinD and MinE ensures correct FtsZ (Z)-ring placement. Although the classical FtsZ antagonist MinC does not exist in plants, ARC3 may fulfil this role. Together with other prokaryotic-derived proteins such as ARC6 and GC1 and key eukaryotic-derived proteins such as ARC5 and FZL, these proteins make up a sophisticated division machinery. The regulation of plastid division in a cellular context is largely unknown; however, recent microarray data shed light on this. Here the current understanding of the mechanism of chloroplast division in higher plants is reviewed with an emphasis on how recent findings are beginning to shape our understanding of the function and evolution of the components.
Extrapolation from the mechanism of bacterial cell division provides valuable clues as to how the chloroplast division process is achieved in plant cells. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the highly regulated mechanism of plastid division within the host cell has led to the evolution of features unique to the plastid division process.
Arabidopsis; ARC; E. coli cell division; Min system; plastid division; FtsZ
Background and Aims
Myo-inositol-1l-phosphate synthase (MIPS) catalyses the conversion of d-glucose 6-phosphate to 1-l-myo-inositol-1-phosphate, the first and rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of all inositol-containing compounds. Inositol phospholipids play a vital role in membrane trafficking and signalling pathways, auxin storage and transport, phytic acid biosynthesis, cell wall biosynthesis and production of stress-related molecules. In the present study, an MIPS cDNA from developing Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa seeds was characterized and an investigation made into its spatial and differential expression, as well as changes in its transcription during exposure of growing plants to cold and heat stresses.
The MIPS-encoding gene was isolated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods, and transcript levels were examined using semi-quantitative reverse transcription–PCR (RT–PCR) during seed development and in response to heat and cold stress. In addition, the copy number of the cloned PeMIPS1 gene in the genome of Passiflora edulis, P. eichleriana, P. caerulea, P. nitida and P. coccinea was determined by Southern blot analyses.
A full-length cDNA clone of the PeMIPS1 from P. edulis was isolated and characterized. Southern blot analyses indicated that the genomic DNA might have diverse sequences of MIPS-encoding genes and one copy of the cloned PeMIPS1 gene in the genomes of P. edulis, P. eichleriana, P. caerulea, P. nitida and P. coccinea. RT–PCR expression analyses revealed the presence of PeMIPS1 transcripts in ovules, pollen grains and leaves, and during the seed developmental stages, where it peaked at 9 d after pollination. The PeMIPS1 gene is differentially regulated under cold and heat stress, presenting a light-responsive transcription.
Experimental data suggest that PeMIPS1 transcription plays an important role in the establishment of developmental programmes and during the response of plants to environmental changes. The PeMIPS1 is differentially transcribed during cold and heat stress, presenting a light response pattern, suggesting that it is important for environmental stress response.
Passiflora; passion fruit; MIPS; myo-inositol-1L-phosphate synthase; gene expression; abiotic stress
Background and Aims
Kaolin applied as a suspension to plant canopies forms a film on leaves that increases reflection and reduces absorption of light. Photosynthesis of individual leaves is decreased while the photosynthesis of the whole canopy remains unaffected or even increases. This may result from a better distribution of light within the canopy following kaolin application, but this explanation has not been tested. The objective of this work was to study the effects of kaolin application on light distribution and absorption within tree canopies and, ultimately, on canopy photosynthesis and radiation use efficiency.
Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) incident on individual leaves within the canopy of almond (Prunus dulcis) and walnut (Juglans regia) trees was measured before and after kaolin application in order to study PAR distribution within the canopy. The PAR incident on, and reflected and transmitted by, the canopy was measured on the same day for kaolin-sprayed and control trees in order to calculate canopy PAR absorption. These data were then used to model canopy photosynthesis and radiation use efficiency by a simple method proposed in previous work, based on the photosynthetic response to incident PAR of a top-canopy leaf.
Kaolin increased incident PAR on surfaces of inner-canopy leaves, although there was an estimated 20 % loss in PAR reaching the photosynthetic apparatus, due to increased reflection. Assuming a 20 % loss of PAR, modelled photosynthesis and photosynthetic radiation use efficiency (PRUE) of kaolin-coated leaves decreased by only 6·3 %. This was due to (1) more beneficial PAR distribution within the kaolin-sprayed canopy, and (2) with decreasing PAR, leaf photosynthesis decreases less than proportionally, due to the curvature of the photosynthesis response-curve to PAR. The relatively small loss in canopy PRUE (per unit of incident PAR), coupled with the increased incident PAR on the leaf surface on inner-canopy leaves, resulted in an estimated increase in modelled photosynthesis of the canopy (+9 % in both walnut and almond). The small loss in PRUE (per unit of incident PAR) resulted in an increase in radiation use efficiency per unit of absorbed PAR, which more than compensated for the minor (7 %) reduction in canopy PAR absorption.
The results explain the apparently contradictory findings in the literature of positive or no effects of kaolin applications on canopy photosynthesis and yield, despite the decrease in photosynthesis by individual leaves when measured at the same PAR.
Juglans regia; kaolin particle film; modelling; photosynthesis; Prunus dulcis; radiation use efficiency
Patchy stomatal conductance is a poorly understood and little-studied phenomenon. It is relatively common, yet it appears to be detrimental to water-use efficiency under some conditions and has no immediately obvious physiological function of any kind. Much of the difficulty in studying patchy stomatal conductance is tied to its unpredictability, both in occurrence and in characteristics.
Scope and Conclusions
Statistical analyses of the variability of stomatal patchiness reveal remarkable similarities to structures and behaviours found in locally connected networks of dynamic units that perform tasks. Such systems solve problems that reside at the level of the entire network despite the absence of a central processor or a mechanism for directly sharing information over the entire system. Frequently, task performance is emergent, in the sense that no unit independently performs the task. Because each unit in the network can communicate with only its immediate neighbours, problem solving is accomplished by the states of the individual units self-organizing into synchronized, collective patterns. In some cases, patches of states form and move coherently over the network, thus providing a means for distantly separated parts of the network to communicate. Often, exactly what form these patches take and how they move as the units synchronize is highly unpredictable. In analogy with such networks, it is suggested that stomatal patchiness may be a signature that plants optimize gas exchange in a more sophisticated and adaptive manner than if performed by their individual stomata independently.
Stomata; complex systems; optimization; photosynthesis; transpiration; networks; emergent behaviour
Background and Aims
It is increasingly accepted that crop models, if they are to simulate genotype-specific behaviour accurately, should simulate the morphogenetic process generating plant architecture. A functional–structural plant model, GREENLAB, was previously presented and validated for maize. The model is based on a recursive mathematical process, with parameters whose values cannot be measured directly and need to be optimized statistically. This study aims at evaluating the stability of GREENLAB parameters in response to three types of phenotype variability: (1) among individuals from a common population; (2) among populations subjected to different environments (seasons); and (3) among different development stages of the same plants.
Five field experiments were conducted in the course of 4 years on irrigated fields near Beijing, China. Detailed observations were conducted throughout the seasons on the dimensions and fresh biomass of all above-ground plant organs for each metamer. Growth stage-specific target files were assembled from the data for GREENLAB parameter optimization. Optimization was conducted for specific developmental stages or the entire growth cycle, for individual plants (replicates), and for different seasons. Parameter stability was evaluated by comparing their CV with that of phenotype observation for the different sources of variability. A reduced data set was developed for easier model parameterization using one season, and validated for the four other seasons.
Key Results and Conclusions
The analysis of parameter stability among plants sharing the same environment and among populations grown in different environments indicated that the model explains some of the inter-seasonal variability of phenotype (parameters varied less than the phenotype itself), but not inter-plant variability (parameter and phenotype variability were similar). Parameter variability among developmental stages was small, indicating that parameter values were largely development-stage independent. The authors suggest that the high level of parameter stability observed in GREENLAB can be used to conduct comparisons among genotypes and, ultimately, genetic analyses.
Plant architecture; functional–structural models; crop simulation; parameter stability; allometric relationships; sink capacity; Zea mays
Background and Aims
This study explores basic physiological features and time relations of recovery of photosynthetic activity and CO2 uptake following rehydration of a desiccation-tolerant moss in relation to the full temporal sequence of cytological changes associated with recovery to the normal hydrated state. It seeks reconciliation of the apparently conflicting published physiological and cytological evidence on recovery from desiccation in bryophytes.
Observations were made of water-stress responses and recovery using infrared gas analysis and modulated chlorophyll fluorescence, and of structural and ultrastructural changes by light and transmission electron microscopy.
Net CO2 uptake fell to zero at approx. 40 % RWC, paralleling the fluorescence parameter ΦPSII at 200 µmol m–2 s–1 PPFD. On re-wetting the moss after 9–18 d desiccation, the initially negative net CO2 uptake became positive 10–30 min after re-wetting, restoring a net carbon balance after approx. 0·3–1 h. The parameter Fv/Fm reached approx. 80 % of its pre-desiccation value within approx. 10 min of re-wetting. In the presence of the protein-synthesis inhibitors chloramphenicol and cycloheximide, recovery of Fv/Fm (and CO2 exchange) proceeded normally in the dark, but declined rapidly in the light. Though initial recovery was rapid, both net CO2 uptake and Fv/Fm required approx. 24 h to recover completely to pre-desiccation values. The fixation protocols produced neither swelling of tissues nor plasmolysis. Thylakoids, grana and mitochondrial cristae remained intact throughout the drying–re-wetting cycle, but there were striking changes in the form of the organelles, especially the chloroplasts, which had prominent lobes and lamellar extensions in the normally hydrated state, but rounded off when desiccated, returning slowly to their normal state within approx. 24 h of re-wetting. Sub-cellular events during desiccation and re-wetting were generally similar to those seen in published data from the pteridophyte Selaginella lepidophylla.
Initial recovery of respiration and photosynthesis (as of protein synthesis) is very rapid, and independent of protein synthesis, suggesting physical reactivation of systems conserved intact through desiccation and rehydration, but full recovery takes approx. 24 h. This is consistent with the cytological evidence, which shows the thylakoids and cristae remaining intact through the whole course of dehydration and rehydration. Substantial and co-ordinated changes in other cell components, which must affect spatial relationships of organelles and metabolic systems, return to normal on a time span similar to full recovery of photosynthesis. Comparison of the present data with recently published results suggests a significant role for the cytoskeleton in desiccation responses.
Bryophyta; chlorophyll fluorescence; chloroplasts; CO2 exchange desiccation tolerance; electron microscopy; metabolic inhibitors; mosses; Polytrichum formosum
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).
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.
Costs of reproduction; Fraxinus ornus; meta-analysis; sexual dimorphism
Background and Aims
Active growth in post-embryonic sporophytes of desert mosses is restricted to the cooler, wetter months. However, most desert mosses have perennial gametophytes. It is hypothesized that these life history patterns are due, in part, to a reduced desiccation tolerance for sporophytes relative to gametophytes.
Gametophytes with attached post-embryonic sporophytes of Tortula inermis (early seta elongation phenophase) were exposed to two levels of desiccation stress, one rapid-dry cycle and two rapid-dry cycles, then moistened and allowed to recover, resume development, and/or regenerate for 35 d in a growth chamber.
Gametophytes tolerated the desiccation treatments well, with 93 % survival through regenerated shoot buds and/or protonemata. At the high stress treatment, a significantly higher frequency of burned leaves and browned shoots occurred. Sporophytes were far more sensitive to desiccation stress, with only 23 % surviving after the low desiccation stress treatment, and 3 % surviving after the high desiccation stress treatment. While the timing of protonemal production and sporophytic phenophases was relatively unaffected by desiccation stress, shoots exposed to one rapid-dry cycle produced shoots more rapidly than shoots exposed to two rapid-dry cycles.
It is concluded that sporophytes of Tortula inermis are more sensitive to rapid drying than are maternal gametophytes, and that sporophyte abortion in response to desiccation results from either reduced desiccation tolerance of sporophytes relative to gametophytes, or from a termination of the sporophyte on the part of the gametophyte in response to stress.
Bryophyte; desiccation stress; regeneration; sporophyte; gametophyte; protonema; Tortula inermis
Background and Aims
The influence of two nitrogen (N) levels on growth, water relations, and N uptake and flow was investigated in two different inbred lines of maize (N-efficient Zi330 and N-inefficient Chen94-11) to analyse the differences in N uptake and cycling within a plant.
Xylem sap from different leaves of the inbred lines cultured in quartz sand was collected by application of pressure to the root system. Plant transpiration was measured on a daily basis by weighing five pots of each of the treatments.
N-efficient Zi330 had a higher relative growth rate and water-use efficiency at both high (4 mm) and low (0·08 mm) N levels. At a high N level, the amount of N taken up was similar for the two inbred lines; the amount of N transported in the xylem and retranslocated in the phloem was slight greater in Chen94-11 than in Zi330. At a low N level, however, the total amount of N taken up, transported in the xylem and retranslocated in the phloem of Zi330 was 2·2, 2·7 and 2·7 times more, respectively, than that of Chen94-11. Independent of inbred line and N level, the amounts of N transported in the xylem and cycled in the phloem were far more than that taken up by roots at the same time. Low N supply shifted NO3−1 reduction towards the roots. The major nitrogenous compound in the xylem sap was NO3−1, when plants grew at the high N level, while amino acid-N was predominant when plants grew at the low N level.
The N-efficient maize inbred line Zi330 had a higher ability to take up N and cycle N within the plant than N-inefficient Chen94-11 when grown under N-deficiency.
Nitrogen flow; nitrogen supply; nitrogen uptake; nitrogen use efficiency; transpiration; Zea mays
Background and Aims
l-Ascorbate (vitamin C) has well-documented roles in many aspects of redox control and anti-oxidant activity in plant cells. This Botanical Briefing highlights recent developments in another aspect of l-ascorbate metabolism: its function as a precursor for specific processes in the biosynthesis of organic acids.
The Briefing provides a summary of recent advances in our understanding of l-ascorbate metabolism, covering biosynthesis, translocation and functional aspects. The role of l-ascorbate as a biosynthetic precursor in the formation of oxalic acid, l-threonic acid and l-tartaric acid is described, and progress in elaborating the mechanisms of the formation of these acids is reviewed. The potential conflict between the two roles of l-ascorbate in plant cells, functional and biosynthetic, is highlighted.
Recent advances in the understanding of l-ascorbate catabolism and the formation of oxalic and l-tartaric acids provide compelling evidence for a major role of l-ascorbate in plant metabolism. Combined experimental approaches, using classic biochemical and emerging ‘omics’ technologies, have provided recent insight to previously under-investigated areas.
Ascorbate; tartrate; oxalate; grapes; Vitis; metabolism
Background and Aims
In angiosperms xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET)/hydrolase (XTH) is involved in reorganization of the cell wall during growth and development. The location of oligo-xyloglucan transglucosylation activity and the presence of XTH expressed sequence tags (ESTs) in the earliest diverging extant plants, i.e. in bryophytes and algae, down to the Phaeophyta was examined. The results provide information on the presence of an XET growth mechanism in bryophytes and algae and contribute to the understanding of the evolution of cell wall elongation in general.
Representatives of the different plant lineages were pressed onto an XET test paper and assayed. XET or XET-related activity was visualized as the incorporation of fluorescent signal. The Physcomitrella genome database was screened for the presence of XTHs. In addition, using the 3′ RACE technique searches were made for the presence of possible XTH ESTs in the Charophyta.
XET activity was found in the three major divisions of bryophytes at sites corresponding to growing regions. In the Physcomitrella genome two putative XTH-encoding cDNA sequences were identified that contain all domains crucial for XET activity. Furthermore, XET activity was located at the sites of growth in Chara (Charophyta) and Ulva (Chlorophyta) and a putative XTH ancestral enzyme in Chara was identified. No XET activity was identified in the Rhodophyta or Phaeophyta.
XET activity was shown to be present in all major groups of green plants. These data suggest that an XET-related growth mechanism originated before the evolutionary divergence of the Chlorobionta and open new insights in the evolution of the mechanisms of primary cell wall expansion.
XTH; XET activity; primary cell wall; xyloglucan; cell elongation; growth; Physcomitrella patens; bryophytes; Charophyta; Chlorophyta; Rhodophyta; Phaeophyta
Background and Aims
Eriocaulaceae (Poales) is currently divided in two subfamilies: Eriocauloideae, which comprises two genera and Paepalanthoideae, with nine genera. The floral anatomy of Actinocephalus polyanthus, Leiothrix fluitans, Paepalanthus chlorocephalus, P. flaccidus and Rondonanthus roraimae was studied here. The flowers of these species of Paepalanthoideae are unisexual, and form capitulum-type inflorescences. Staminate and pistillate flowers are randomly distributed in the capitulum and develop centripetally. This work aims to establish a floral nomenclature for the Eriocaulaceae to provide more information about the taxonomy and phylogeny of the family.
Light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and chemical tests were used to investigate the floral structures.
Staminate and pistillate flowers are trimerous (except in P. flaccidus, which presents dimerous flowers), and the perianth of all species is differentiated into sepals and petals. Staminate flowers present an androecium with scale-like staminodes (not in R. roraimae) and fertile stamens, and nectariferous pistillodes. Pistillate flowers present scale-like staminodes (except for R. roraimae, which presents elongated and vascularized staminodes), and a gynoecium with a hollow style, ramified in stigmatic and nectariferous portions.
The scale-like staminodes present in the species of Paepalanthoideae indicate a probable reduction of the outer whorl of stamens present in species of Eriocauloideae. Among the Paepalanthoideae genera, Rondonanthus, which is probably basal, shows vascularized staminodes in their pistillate flowers. The occurrence of nectariferous pistillodes in staminate flowers and that of nectariferous portions of the style in pistillate flowers of Paepalanthoideae are emphasized as nectariferous structures in Eriocaulaceae.
Eriocaulaceae; Paepalanthoideae; nectariferous structures; staminodes; staminate flowers; pistillate flowers; floral anatomy; monocotyledons; Poales
Background and Aims
Because plants protect each other from wind, stand density affects both the light climate and the amount of mechanical stress experienced by plants. But the potential interactive effects of mechanical stress and canopy shading on plant growth have rarely been investigated and never in stoloniferous plants which, due to their creeping growth form, can be expected to respond differently to these factors than erect plants.
Plants of ten genotypes of the stoloniferous species Potentilla reptans were subjected to two levels of mechanical stress (0 or 40 daily flexures) and two levels of spectral shading (15 % of daylight with a red:far red ratio of 0·3 vs. 50 % daylight and a red:far red ratio of 1·2).
Mechanically stressed plants produced more leaves with shorter more flexible petioles, more roots, and more but less massive stolons. Responses to spectral shading were mostly in the opposite direction to thigmomorphogenesis, including the production of thinner, taller petioles made of more rigid tissue. The degree of thigmomorphogenesis was either independent of light climate or stimulated by spectral shading. At the genotypic level there were no clear correlations between responses to shade and mechanical stress.
These results suggest that in stoloniferous plants mechanical stress results in clones with a more compact, shorter shoot structure and more roots. This response does not appear to be suppressed by canopy shading, which suggests that wind shielding (reduced mechanical stress) by neighbours in dense vegetation serves as a cue that induces shade avoidance responses such as increased petiole elongation.
Allometry; biomechanics; clonal plants; phenotypic plasticity; Potentilla reptans; thigmomorphogenesis; shade avoidance; Young's modulus
Background and Aims
The genus Melocactus comprises 36 species of globose cacti with the most derived traits in the Cereeae tribe. It is the proper study system to examine what are the most derived reproductive strategies within that tribe. This study aims to characterize the reproductive biology and to estimate the mating system parameters of two Andean melocacti, Melocactus schatzlii and M. andinus.
The reproductive attributes of the two species were described, including floral morphology, anthesis patterns, floral rewards, floral visitors and visitation patterns. Levels of self-compatibility and autonomous self-pollination were estimated by hand-pollination experiments. Mating system estimates were obtained by conducting progeny array analyses using isozymes.
The flowers of the two species present the typical hummingbird-pollination syndrome. Despite their morphological resemblance, the two species differ in flower size, pollen and ovule production and anthesis pattern. Their main pollinator agents are hummingbirds, four species in M. schatzlii and one species in M. andinus. Both cacti are self-compatible and capable of self-pollination without the aid of pollen vectors. Population-level outcrossing rate was higher for M. schatzlii (tm=0·9) than for M. andinus (tm=0·4). At the family level, outcrossing rates for most mothers of M. schatzlii were higher (tm>0·8) than for M. andinus (tm<0·5).
Although the two cacti are capable of selfing, M. schatzlii is a predominantly outcrossing species, while M. andinus behaves as a mixed-mating cactus. Hummingbirds are the only pollinators responsible for outcrossing and gene flow events in these species. In their absence, both melocacti set seeds by selfing. Based on its low population size, restricted distribution in Venezuela, low rates of floral visits, and high levels of inbreeding, M. andinus is considered to be an endangered species deserving further study to define its conservation status.
Andes; Cactaceae; hummingbird; isozymes; mating system; Melocactus andinus; Melocactus schatzlii; reproductive biology
Background and Aims
The function of sexual reproduction of perennials in restoration of vegetation of active dune fields frequently has been underestimated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of sexual reproduction of the perennial Salix gordejevii in the revegetation of active dunes.
Seedling emergence and establishment of S. gordejevii were examined both in controlled experiments (germination at different burial depths with different watering regimes) and in field observations in three dune slacks. The reproductive phenology and soil seed bank of S. gordejevii, the dynamics of soil moisture, the groundwater table and the landform level of three dune slacks were monitored.
Seeds of S. gordejevii began maturation on 1 May, and seed dispersal lasted from 8 May to 20 May. Seeds on the soil surface germinated significantly faster than those buried in soil (P<0·05). Seedling emergence was negatively correlated with landform level. When most seedlings emerged, there was a significantly positive correlation between soil moisture and seedling emergence (P<0·01). Rainfall was negatively correlated with seedling emergence. Seedling establishment was significantly and positively correlated with seedling emergence (P<0·05), and 72·3 % of the emergent seedlings were established at the end of the growing season. These results indicated that (a) seeds matured and dispersed before the rainy season; (b) seeds germinated as soon as they contacted a moist surface and relied more on soil moisture than on rainfall; and (c) more seedlings emerged at lower sampling points in dune slacks.
In natural conditions, restoration of active sand dune fields generally commences with revegetation of dune slacks where sexual reproduction of perennials contributes greatly to species encroachment and colonization and hence plays an important role in restoration of active dune fields. Furthermore, aeolian erosion in dune slacks, leading to good soil moisture, facilitates seed germination, seedling emergence and establishment of S. gordejevii.
Aeolian erosion; dune slack; groundwater table; landform level; rainfall; restoration; seedling; sexual reproduction; soil moisture; soil seed bank
Background and Aims
Prior work has shown that above- and below-ground dry biomass across individual plants scale in a near isometric manner across phyletically and ecologically diverse species. Allometric theory predicts that a similar isometric scaling relationship should hold true across diverse forest-types, regardless of vegetational composition.
To test this hypothesis, two compendia for forest-level above- and below-ground dry biomass per hectare (MA and MR, respectively) were examined to test the hypothesis that MA vs. MR scales isometrically and in the same manner as reported for data from individual plants. Model Type II regression protocols were used to compare the numerical values of MA vs. MR scaling exponents (i.e. slopes of log–log linear relationships) for the combined data sets (n =1534), each of the two data sets, and data sorted into a total of 17 data subsets for community- and biome-types as well as communities dominated by angiosperms or conifers.
Among the 20 regressions examined, 15 had scaling exponents that were indistinguishable from that reported for MA vs. MR across individual plants. The isometric hypothesis could not be strictly rejected on statistical grounds; four of these 15 exponents had broad 95% confidence intervals resulting from small sample sizes. Significant variation was observed in the y-intercepts of the 20 regression curves, because of absolute differences in MA or MR.
The allometries of forest- and individual plant-level MA vs. MR relationships share strikingly similar scaling exponents, but differ because of considerable variation in y-intercepts. These results support prior allometric theory and provide boundary conditions for the scaling of MA and MR.
Allometry; isometric scaling; plant biomass partitioning patterns; leaf; stem and root biomass allocation; tree allometry
The germination of both pollen and fern spores results in the emergence of a cell—pollen tube from pollen, rhizoid from spore—that grows in a polar fashion, primarily at its apical end. In both of these tip-growing cells, the delivery of secretory vesicles to the growing end is guided in part by a calcium gradient, with calcium entering at the tip where it is most highly concentrated. The similarities between the two systems extend beyond tip-focused calcium gradients to encompass signalling pathways and elements including calmodulin, nitric oxide, annexins and Rop-GTPases.
Scope and Aims
This review is limited to those pathways and elements that function similarly in fern and pollen systems based on currently available evidence. The aim is to illustrate the common mechanisms by which tip growth occurs, facilitate further investigations into this area, and examine the implications for the evolutionarily conserved control of tip growth.
The interplay of calcium, nitric oxide and other effectors in both pollen and fern spores suggests certain signalling pathways became important regulators of germination and growth early in the evolution of land plants. Both large- and small-scale comparative genomic methods have shown to be promising in their ability to find new and relevant comparisons for further research. Cross-species comparisons may serve to speed up this process by highlighting both basic pathways and system-specific deviations.
Annexin; calcium; tip-growth; nitric oxide; secretion; Rop-GTPase; F-actin; Arabidopsis thaliana; Ceratopteris richardii; Dryopteris; Anemia; Nicotiana
Background and Aims
Increased levels of nitrogen (N) deposition lead to enhanced N contents and reduced productivity of many bryophyte species. This study aimed at elucidating the mechanisms by which enhanced N uptake may cause growth reduction of bryophytes, focusing on the effects of N addition on carbon (C) metabolism of bryophytes.
Plantlets of Thuidium tamariscinum and Hylocomium splendens were fertilized with NH4NO3 (N load equalling 30 kg ha−1 year−1) for 80 d, including a pulse labelling experiment with 13CO2 to dissect the partitioning of carbon in response to N addition.
Growth of T. tamariscinum was not affected by N addition, while H. splendens showed a trend towards growth reduction. Total N concentration was significantly increased by N addition in H. splendens, a significant increase in amino acid-N was found in T. tamariscinum only. In both bryophyte species, a reduction in concentration of lipids, the greatest C storage pool, as well as markedly enhanced turnover rates of C storage pools in fertilized plants were observed.
The results suggest that growth reduction of H. splendens under high levels of N deposition may be caused by enhanced synthesis of N-containing organic compounds, most probably of cell wall proteins. Disturbance of cellular C metabolism, as indicated by enhanced C pool turnover, may further contribute to the decline in productivity of H. splendens.
Bryophytes; nitrogen deposition; growth; Thuidium tamariscinum; Hylocomium splendens; C metabolism; amino acids
• Background and Aims Several families of tropical plants have thermogenic flowers that show a 2-d protogynous sequence. Most are pollinated by large beetles that remain for the entire period in the flowers, where they compete for mates and feed. Active beetles require high body temperatures that they can achieve endogenously at great energy expense or attain passively and cheaply in a warm environment. Floral heating is therefore hypothesized to be a direct energy reward to endothermic beetles, in addition to its accepted role in enhancing scent production.
• Methods This study measures the pattern of floral heat production (as temperature in 20 flowers and respiration rates in five flowers) in Victoria amazonica at field sites in Guyana and correlates floral temperatures with body temperatures necessary for activity in visiting Cyclocephala hardyi beetles.
• Key Results Thermogenesis occurred in a bimodal pattern, with peaks associated with the arrival and departure of beetles near sunset. Peak CO2 production rates averaged 2·9 µmol s−1, equivalent to a heat production of 1·4 W. Heat was generated mainly in the floral chamber on the first evening and by the stamen complex on the second. Mean chamber temperature remained between 29·3 and 34·7 °C during the first night, when ambient temperature was 23·5–25·2 °C. Beetles actively competed for mates and consumed stylar processes in the floral chamber, where their mean thoracic temperature was 33·2 °C. At the lower ambient temperatures outside of the flower, beetles capable of sustained flight had a similar mean temperature of 32·0 °C.
• Conclusions Floral heating is not only associated with attraction, but continues throughout the night when beetles are active inside the flower and increases again when they leave. Floral chamber temperatures similar to activity temperatures of actively endothermic beetles imply that thermogenesis is an energy reward.
Pollination biology; thermogenesis; respiration; beetle; endothermy; Nymphaeaceae; Guyana; Victoria amazonica; Cyclocephala hardyi
• Background and Aims Owing to large-scale collecting, the lady's slipper orchid, Paphiopedilum delenatii, is under threat of extinction. Asymbiotic germination provides a useful way to re-establish plants in the wild and for commercial propagation. A detailed study of embryo development would provide information on subsequent germination events and aid in the propagation of the species.
• Methods Developing capsules were collected for histochemical and ultrastructural studies by using both light and transmission electron microscopy.
• Key Results The suspensor of this species consists of three vacuolated cells. During the early globular stage of embryo development, structural differentiation occurs, revealing an abundance of smooth endoplasmic reticulum cisternae and wall ingrowths within the suspensor cells. These features are not present in cells of the embryo proper. Furthermore, the results of Nile red staining demonstrate that a cuticular layer is present only in the embryo proper, but absent from the suspensor. Cuticular material is also present in the inner walls of the seed coat, and persists through seed maturation.
• Conclusions The morphological features of the transfer cell and the absence of cuticular material in the suspensor cell wall corroborate the hypothesis that the suspensor is the major nutrient uptake site for the developing embryo in the lady's slipper orchid. The absence of an endosperm and presence of cuticular material in the inner walls of the seed coat enclosing the embryo proper further support the notion that nutrient uptake by the embryo is confined to the micropylar end of the seed through the suspensor.
Cuticular material; embryology; lady's slipper orchid; Paphiopedilum; suspensor
• Background and Aims Seedlings of Acanthocarpus preissii are needed for coastal sand dune restoration in Western Australia. However, seeds of this Western Australian endemic have proven to be very difficult to germinate. The aims of this study were to define a dormancy-breaking protocol, identify time of suitable conditions for dormancy-break in the field and classify the type of seed dormancy in this species.
• Methods Viability, water-uptake (imbibition) and seed and embryo characteristics were assessed for seeds collected in 2003 and in 2004 from two locations. The effects of GA3, smoke-water, GA3 + smoke-water and warm stratification were tested on seed dormancy-break. In a field study, soil temperature and the moisture content of soil and buried seeds were monitored for 1 year.
• Key Results Viability of fresh seeds was >90 %, and they had a fully developed, curved-linear embryo. Fresh seeds imbibed water readily, with mass increasing approx. 52 % in 4 d. Non-treated fresh seeds and those exposed to 1000 ppm GA3, 1 : 10 (v/v) smoke-water/water or 1000 ppm GA3 + 1 : 10 (v/v) smoke-water/water germinated <8 %. Fresh seeds germinated to >80 % when warm-stratified for at least 7 weeks at 18/33 °C and then moved to 7/18 °C, whereas seeds incubated continuously at 7/18 °C germinated to <20 %.
• Conclusions Seeds of A. preisii have non-deep physiological dormancy that is released by a period of warm stratification. Autumn (March/April) is the most likely time for warm stratification of seeds of this species in the field. This is the first report of the requirement for warm stratification for dormancy release in seeds of an Australian species.
Acanthocarpus preissii; Dasypogonaceae; physiological dormancy; seed dormancy; seed germination; warm stratification