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Title: Stomatal behaviour and stem xylem traits are coordinated for woody plant species under exceptional drought conditions

Isohydry (maintenance of plant water potential at the cost of carbon gain) and anisohydry (gas exchange maintenance at the cost of declining plant water status) make up two ends of a stomatal drought response strategy continuum. However, few studies have merged measures of stomatal regulation with xylem hydraulic safety strategies based on in situ field measurements. The goal of this study was to characterize the stomatal and xylem hydraulic safety strategies of woody species in the biodiverse Mediterranean‐type ecosystem region of California. Measurements were conducted in situ when California was experiencing the most severe drought conditions in the past 1,200 years. We found coordination among stomatal, hydraulic, and standard leaf functional traits. For example, stem xylem vulnerability to cavitation (P50) was correlated with the water potential at stomatal closure (Pclose); more resistant species had a more negative water potential at stomatal closure. The degree of isohydry–anisohydry, defined at Pclose–P50, was correlated with the hydraulic safety margin across species; more isohydric species had a larger hydraulic safety margin. In addition, we report for the first time Pclosevalues below −10 MPa. Measuring these traits in a biodiverse region under exceptional drought conditions contributes to our understanding of plant drought responses.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Plant, Cell & Environment
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 2617-2626
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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