Cause–effect relationship among morphological adaptations, growth, and gas exchange response of pedunculate oak seedlings to waterlogging
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In response to waterlogging, pedunculate oak is known to develop adventitious roots and hypertrophied lenticels. However, to date, a link between these adaptations and the ability to maintain net CO2 assimilation rates and growth has not been demonstrated.
The aim of this study was to explore the cause–effect relationship between the ability to form morphological adaptations (hypertrophied lenticels and adventitious roots) and the capacity to maintain high assimilation rate and growth.
The occurrence of morphological adaptations and the parameters of photosynthesis were monitored over 20 days of waterlogging in 5-week-old pedunculate oak seedlings presenting similar morphological development.
Based on the development or not of morphological adaptations, the following three categories of responses were identified: development of hypertrophied lenticels and adventitious roots, development of hypertrophied lenticels alone, and the lack of development of adaptive structures. These categories, ranked in the order given, corresponded to decreasing levels of initial net CO2 assimilation rate growth and photosynthesis parameters observed during waterlogging.
We observed a two-way cause–effect relationship between the capacity to form adaptive structures and the assimilation rate. Indeed, the initial assimilation rate determined the occurrence of hypertrophied lenticels and growth during stress, and then the development of morphological adaptations enhanced the ability to maintain assimilation levels during the stress.
KeywordsQuercus robur Waterlogging Hypertrophied lenticels Adventitious root Photosynthesis
We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for their helpful comments.
This work was supported by the University of Franche-Comté and the regional council of Franche-Comté.
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