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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (6)

Articles by Christine Scoffoni in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Measurement of Leaf Hydraulic Conductance and Stomatal Conductance and Their Responses to Irradiance and Dehydration Using the Evaporative Flux Method (EFM)

1University of California, Los Angeles


JoVE 4179

We describe a relatively rapid (30 min) and realistic method for simultaneously measurement of leaf hydraulic conductance (Kleaf) and stomatal conductance (gs) for transpiring excised leaves. The method can be modified to measure the light and dehydration responses of Kleaf and gs.

Other articles by Christine Scoffoni on PubMed

The Rapid Light Response of Leaf Hydraulic Conductance: New Evidence from Two Experimental Methods

Previous studies have shown a rapid enhancement in leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf)) from low to high irradiance (from <10 to >1000 micromol photons m(-2) s(-1)), using the high-pressure flow meter (HPFM), for 7 of 14 tested woody species. However, theoretical suggestions have been made that this response might arise as an artifact of the HPFM. We tested the K(leaf) light response for six evergreen species using refined versions of the rehydration kinetics method (RKM) and the evaporative flux method (EFM). We found new evidence for a rapid, 60% to 100% increase in K(leaf) from low to high irradiance for three species. In the RKM, the leaf rehydration time constant declined by up to 70% under high irradiance relative to darkness. In the EFM, under higher irradiance, the flow rate increased disproportionately to the water potential gradient. Combining our data with those of previous studies, we found that heterobaric species, i.e. those with bundle sheath extensions (BSEs) showed a twofold greater K(leaf) light response on average than homobaric species, i.e. those without BSEs. We suggest further research to characterize this substantial dynamic at the nexus of plant light- and water-relations.

Decline of Leaf Hydraulic Conductance with Dehydration: Relationship to Leaf Size and Venation Architecture

Across plant species, leaves vary enormously in their size and their venation architecture, of which one major function is to replace water lost to transpiration. The leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf)) represents the capacity of the transport system to deliver water, allowing stomata to remain open for photosynthesis. Previous studies showed that K(leaf) relates to vein density (vein length per area). Additionally, venation architecture determines the sensitivity of K(leaf) to damage; severing the midrib caused K(leaf) and gas exchange to decline, with lesser impacts in leaves with higher major vein density that provided more numerous water flow pathways around the damaged vein. Because xylem embolism during dehydration also reduces K(leaf), we hypothesized that higher major vein density would also reduce hydraulic vulnerability. Smaller leaves, which generally have higher major vein density, would thus have lower hydraulic vulnerability. Tests using simulations with a spatially explicit model confirmed that smaller leaves with higher major vein density were more tolerant of major vein embolism. Additionally, for 10 species ranging strongly in drought tolerance, hydraulic vulnerability, determined as the leaf water potential at 50% and 80% loss of K(leaf), was lower with greater major vein density and smaller leaf size (|r| = 0.85-0.90; P < 0.01). These relationships were independent of other aspects of physiological and morphological drought tolerance. These findings point to a new functional role of venation architecture and small leaf size in drought tolerance, potentially contributing to well-known biogeographic trends in leaf size.

Dynamics of Leaf Hydraulic Conductance with Water Status: Quantification and Analysis of Species Differences Under Steady State

Leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf)) is a major determinant of photosynthetic rate in well-watered and drought-stressed plants. Previous work assessed the decline of K(leaf) with decreasing leaf water potential (Ψ(leaf)), most typically using rehydration kinetics methods, and found that species varied in the shape of their vulnerability curve, and that hydraulic vulnerability correlated with other leaf functional traits and with drought sensitivity. These findings were tested and extended, using a new steady-state evaporative flux method under high irradiance, and the function for the vulnerability curve of each species was determined individually using maximum likelihood for 10 species varying strongly in drought tolerance. Additionally, the ability of excised leaves to recover in K(leaf) with rehydration was assessed, and a new theoretical framework was developed to estimate how rehydration of measured leaves may affect estimation of hydraulic parameters. As hypothesized, species differed in their vulnerability function. Drought-tolerant species showed shallow linear declines and more negative Ψ(leaf) at 80% loss of K(leaf) (P(80)), whereas drought-sensitive species showed steeper, non-linear declines, and less negative P(80). Across species, the maximum K(leaf) was independent of hydraulic vulnerability. Recovery of K(leaf) after 1 h rehydration of leaves dehydrated below their turgor loss point occurred only for four of 10 species. Across species without recovery, a more negative P(80) correlated with the ability to maintain K(leaf) through both dehydration and rehydration. These findings indicate that resistance to K(leaf) decline is important not only in maintaining open stomata during the onset of drought, but also in enabling sustained function during drought recovery.

Combined Impacts of Irradiance and Dehydration on Leaf Hydraulic Conductance: Insights into Vulnerability and Stomatal Control

The leaf is a hydraulic bottleneck, accounting for a large part of plant resistance. Thus, the leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf) ) is of key importance in determining stomatal conductance (g(s) ) and rates of gas exchange. Previous studies showed that K(leaf) is dynamic with leaf water status and irradiance. For four species, we tested the combined impacts of these factors on K(leaf) and on g(s) . We determined responses of K(leaf) and g(s) to declining leaf water potential (Ψ(leaf) ) under low and high irradiance (<6 and >900 µmol photons m(-2) s(-1) photosynthetically active radiation, respectively). We hypothesized greater K(leaf) vulnerability under high irradiance. We also hypothesized that K(leaf) and g(s) would be similar in their responses to either light or dehydration: similar light-responses of K(leaf) and g(s) would stabilize Ψ(leaf) across irradiances for leaves transpiring at a given vapour pressure deficit, and similar dehydration responses would arise from the control of stomata by Ψ(leaf) or a correlated signal. For all four species, the K(leaf) light response declined from full hydration to turgor loss point. The K(leaf) and g(s) differed strongly in their light- and dehydration responses, supporting optimization of hydraulic transport across irradiances, and semi-independent, flexible regulation of liquid and vapour phase water transport with leaf water status.

The Determinants of Leaf Turgor Loss Point and Prediction of Drought Tolerance of Species and Biomes: a Global Meta-analysis

Increasing drought is one of the most critical challenges facing species and ecosystems worldwide, and improved theory and practices are needed for quantification of species tolerances. Leaf water potential at turgor loss, or wilting (π(tlp) ), is classically recognised as a major physiological determinant of plant water stress response. However, the cellular basis of π(tlp) and its importance for predicting ecological drought tolerance have been controversial. A meta-analysis of 317 species from 72 studies showed that π(tlp) was strongly correlated with water availability within and across biomes, indicating power for anticipating drought responses. We derived new equations giving both π(tlp) and relative water content at turgor loss point (RWC(tlp) ) as explicit functions of osmotic potential at full turgor (π(o) ) and bulk modulus of elasticity (ε). Sensitivity analyses and meta-analyses showed that π(o) is the major driver of π(tlp) . In contrast, ε plays no direct role in driving drought tolerance within or across species, but sclerophylly and elastic adjustments act to maintain RWC(tlp,) preventing cell dehydration, and additionally protect against nutrient, mechanical and herbivory stresses independent of drought tolerance. These findings clarify biogeographic trends and the underlying basis of drought tolerance parameters with applications in comparative assessments of species and ecosystems worldwide.

Developmentally Based Scaling of Leaf Venation Architecture Explains Global Ecological Patterns

Leaf size and venation show remarkable diversity across dicotyledons, and are key determinants of plant adaptation in ecosystems past and present. Here we present global scaling relationships of venation traits with leaf size. Across a new database for 485 globally distributed species, larger leaves had major veins of larger diameter, but lower length per leaf area, whereas minor vein traits were independent of leaf size. These scaling relationships allow estimation of intact leaf size from fragments, to improve hindcasting of past climate and biodiversity from fossil remains. The vein scaling relationships can be explained by a uniquely synthetic model for leaf anatomy and development derived from published data for numerous species. Vein scaling relationships can explain the global biogeographical trend for smaller leaves in drier areas, the greater construction cost of larger leaves and the ability of angiosperms to develop larger and more densely vascularised lamina to outcompete earlier-evolved plant lineages.

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