Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. is a grass native to the Atlantic coastal area of North America currently invading salt marsh ecosystems in several regions of Europe. We investigated leaf water relations and hydraulics, gas exchange, nitrogen and starch content in two populations of S. patens growing under contrasting salinity levels in a salt marsh and in a dune system in order to assess its functional plasticity as a factor contributing to its invasive potential. The analysis of leaf water relations revealed a suite of mechanisms adopted by S. patens to overcome salt and drought stress while maintaining relatively invariant leaf morphological traits and plant biomass. In particular, salt marsh plants experiencing severe water stress underwent greater osmoregulation and leaf hydraulic adjustment than dune plants. We also present the first experimental evidence for salt-mediated regulation of xylem hydraulic efficiency in a halophytic grass and suggest that it is an important functional trait allowing plants growing in saline habitats to cope with a restricted water supply. The functional plasticity of leaf water relations and xylem hydraulics emerges as a key trait underlying the competitive ability and invasive potential of S. patens.

Water relations of an invasive halophyte (Spartina patens): Osmoregulation and ionic effects on xylem hydraulics

CASOLO, Valentino
Primo
;
DE COL, Valentina;BRAIDOT, Enrico;
2015-01-01

Abstract

Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. is a grass native to the Atlantic coastal area of North America currently invading salt marsh ecosystems in several regions of Europe. We investigated leaf water relations and hydraulics, gas exchange, nitrogen and starch content in two populations of S. patens growing under contrasting salinity levels in a salt marsh and in a dune system in order to assess its functional plasticity as a factor contributing to its invasive potential. The analysis of leaf water relations revealed a suite of mechanisms adopted by S. patens to overcome salt and drought stress while maintaining relatively invariant leaf morphological traits and plant biomass. In particular, salt marsh plants experiencing severe water stress underwent greater osmoregulation and leaf hydraulic adjustment than dune plants. We also present the first experimental evidence for salt-mediated regulation of xylem hydraulic efficiency in a halophytic grass and suggest that it is an important functional trait allowing plants growing in saline habitats to cope with a restricted water supply. The functional plasticity of leaf water relations and xylem hydraulics emerges as a key trait underlying the competitive ability and invasive potential of S. patens.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
FuncPlantBIol_2015_Spartina testo per IRIS.pdf

solo utenti autorizzati

Descrizione: articolo principale
Tipologia: Documento in Post-print
Dimensione 344 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
344 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1067682
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 13
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 13
social impact