NEW TYPE OF VULNERABILITY CURVE GIVES INSIGHT IN THE HYDRAULIC CAPACITANCE AND CONDUCTIVITY OF THE XYLEM
Drought vulnerability of trees and other woody plants is much debated in the context of climate change, which creates a high interest in understanding plant water relations. The role and functioning of internal water storage is crucial, but still insufficiently understood. Drought vulnerability is typically assessed by considering loss in conductivity in function of decreasing xylem water potential, in a so-called vulnerability curve. The xylem water potential at which a certain percentage of conductivity is lost (usually 50%) gives an indication of the vulnerability to cavitation. In a desorption curve, we can examine the release of water from internal storage tissues with decreasing water potential. Both curves are very valuable, but rely on a sequence of manual measurements (xylem water potential, hydraulic conductivity and water content) and are time-consuming. Therefore, we propose a new type of vulnerability curve that is based on continuous measurements of diameter shrinkage and ultrasonic acoustic emissions (UAE). We monitored weight loss, xylem diameter shrinkage and UAE and measured xylem water potential during the dehydration of excised branches of Vitis vinifera L. Johanniter. The vulnerability curves could be interpreted in terms of water loss in elastic and inelastic tissues. The proposed method can be a tool to assess hydraulic capacitance and conductivity of the xylem.
Vergeynst, L.L., Bogaerts, J., Baert, A., Kips, L. and Steppe, K. (2013). NEW TYPE OF VULNERABILITY CURVE GIVES INSIGHT IN THE HYDRAULIC CAPACITANCE AND CONDUCTIVITY OF THE XYLEM. Acta Hortic. 991, 341-347
drought, vulnerability, cavitation, hydraulic capacitance, hydraulic conductivity, stem diameter variations, ultrasonic acoustic emissions (UAE)