Is the Seasonal Variation in Frost Resistance and Plant Performance in Four Oak Species Affected by Changing Temperatures? / Maggie Preißer and Solveig Franziska Bucher

Abstract: Research Highlights: We found seasonal variation in frost resistance (FR) and plant performance which were affected by growth temperature. This helps to better understand ecophysiological processes in the light of climate change. Background and Objectives: FR and photosynthesis are important plant characteristics that vary with the season. The aim of this study was to find out whether there is a seasonal variation in FR, photosynthetic CO2 assimilation rates and leaf functional traits associated with performance such as specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), chlorophyll content, stomatal characteristics and leaf thickness in two evergreen and two deciduous species, and whether this is influenced by different temperature treatments. Additionally, the trade-off between FR and photosynthetic performance, and the influence of leaf functional traits was analyzed. By understanding these processes better, predicting species behavior concerning plant performance and its changes under varying climate regimes can be improved. Materials and Methods: 40 individuals of four oak species were measured weekly over the course of ten months with one half of the trees exposed to frost in winter and the other half protected in the green house. Two of these species were evergreen (Quercus ilex L., Quercus rhysophylla Weath.), and two were deciduous (Quercus palustris L., Quercus rubra L.). We measured FR, the maximum assimilation rate at light saturation under ambient CO2 concentrations (Amax), chlorophyll fluorescence and the leaf functional traits SLA, LDMC, stomatal pore area index (SPI), chlorophyll content (Chl) and leaf thickness. Results: All parameters showed a significant species-specific seasonal variation. There was a difference in all traits investigated between evergreen and deciduous species and between the two temperature treatments. Individuals that were protected from frost in winter showed higher photosynthesis values as well as SLA and Chl, whereas individuals exposed to frost had overall higher FR, LDMC, SPI and leaf thickness. A trade-off between FR and SLA, rather than FR and photosynthetic performance was found. Keywords: atLeaf; botanical garden; chlorophyll fluorescence; electrolyte leakage; gas exchange; PocketPEA

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Persons: Preißner, Maggie [Author]; Bucher, Solveig Franziska [Author]
Format: eArticle
Language(s):English
Publication:20 March 2021
Part of:Forests 12(2021,3) Artikel-Nummer 369, 15 Seiten
ISSN:1999-4907
DOI:10.3390/f12030369