Tolerance or avoidance: drought frequency determines the response of an N 2 -fixing tree

  • Authors: Minucci, Jeffrey M.; Miniat, Chelcy Ford; Teskey, Robert O.; Wurzburger, Nina
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: New Phytologist
  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.14558

Abstract

• Climate change is increasing drought frequency, which may affect symbiotic N2 fixation (SNF), a process that facilitates ecosystem recovery from disturbance. Here, we assessed the effect of drought frequency on the ecophysiology and SNF rate of a common N2-fixing tree in eastern US forests.
•We grew Robinia pseudoacacia seedlings under the same mean soil moisture, but with different drought frequency caused by wet–dry cycles of varying periodicity.
•We found no effect of drought frequency on final biomass or mean SNF rate. However, seedlings responded differently to wet and dry phases depending on drought frequency. Under low-frequency droughts, plants fixed carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) at similar rates during wet and dry phases. Conversely, under high-frequency droughts, plants fixed C and N at low rates during dry phases and at high rates during wet phases.
•Our findings suggest that R. pseudoacacia growth is resistant to increased drought frequency because it employs two strategies – drought tolerance or drought avoidance, followed by compensation. SNF may play a role in both by supplying N to leaf tissues for acclimation and by facilitating compensatory growth following drought. Our findings point to SNF as a mechanism for plants and ecosystems to cope with drought

  • Citation: Minucci, Jeffrey M.; Miniat, Chelcy Ford; Teskey, Robert O.; Wurzburger, Nina 2017. Tolerance or avoidance: drought frequency determines the response of an N 2 -fixing tree . New Phytologist. 215(1): 434-442. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14558.
  • Keywords: acclimation, climate change, compensatory growth, ecosystem, lag times, Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust), symbiotic nitrogen fixation, temporal variability.
  • Posted Date: July 25, 2017
  • Modified Date: August 1, 2017
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.