Browsing by Subject "ecophysiology"

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  • Salmon, Yann; Torres-Ruiz, Jose M.; Poyatos, Rafael; Martinez-Vilalta, Jordi; Meir, Patrick; Cochard, Herve; Mencuccini, Maurizio (2015)
    Understanding physiological processes involved in drought-induced mortality is important for predicting the future of forests and for modelling the carbon and water cycles. Recent research has highlighted the variable risks of carbon starvation and hydraulic failure in drought-exposed trees. However, little is known about the specific responses of leaves and supporting twigs, despite their critical role in balancing carbon acquisition and water loss. Comparing healthy (non-defoliated) and unhealthy (defoliated) Scots pine at the same site, we measured the physiological variables involved in regulating carbon and water resources. Defoliated trees showed different responses to summer drought compared with non-defoliated trees. Defoliated trees maintained gas exchange while non-defoliated trees reduced photosynthesis and transpiration during the drought period. At the branch scale, very few differences were observed in non-structural carbohydrate concentrations between health classes. However, defoliated trees tended to have lower water potentials and smaller hydraulic safety margins. While non-defoliated trees showed a typical response to drought for an isohydric species, the physiology appears to be driven in defoliated trees by the need to maintain carbon resources in twigs. These responses put defoliated trees at higher risk of branch hydraulic failure and help explain the interaction between carbon starvation and hydraulic failure in dying trees.
  • Kalliokoski, Tuomo; Makela, Annikki; Fronzek, Stefan; Minunno, Francesco; Peltoniemi, Mikko (2018)
    We are bound to large uncertainties when considering impacts of climate change on forest productivity. Studies formally acknowledging and determining the relative importance of different sources of this uncertainty are still scarce, although the choice of the climate scenario, and e.g. the assumption of the CO2 effects on tree water use can easily result in contradicting conclusions of future forest productivity. In a large scale, forest productivity is primarily driven by two large fluxes, gross primary production (GPP), which is the source for all carbon in forest ecosystems, and heterotrophic respiration. Here we show how uncertainty of GPP projections of Finnish boreal forests divides between input, mechanistic and parametric uncertainty. We used the simple semi-empirical stand GPP and water balance model PRELES with an ensemble of downscaled global circulation model (GCM) projections for the 21st century under different emissions and forcing scenarios (both RCP and SRES). We also evaluated the sensitivity of assumptions of the relationships between atmospheric CO2 concentration (C-a), photosynthesis and water use of trees. Even mean changes in climate projections of different meteorological variables for Finland were so high that it is likely that the primary productivity of forests will increase by the end of the century. The scale of productivity change largely depends on the long-term C-a fertilization effect on GPP and transpiration. However, GCM variability was the major source of uncertainty until 2060, after which emission scenario/pathway became the dominant factor. Large uncertainties with a wide range of projections can make it more difficult to draw ecologically meaningful conclusions especially on the local to regional scales, yet a thorough assessment of uncertainties is important for drawing robust conclusions.
  • Kangas, Laura (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Forested wetlands throughout the world are valuable habitats; especially in relatively species-poor northern regions, they can be considered biological hotspots. Unfortunately, these areas have been degraded and destroyed. In recent years, however, the biological importance of wetlands has been increasingly recognized, resulting in the desire to restore disturbed habitats or create in place of destroyed ones. Restoration work is taking place across the globe in a diversity of wetland types, and research must be conducted to determine successful techniques. As a result, two studies of the effects of wetland restoration and creation were conducted in forested wetlands in northern Michigan and southern Finland. In North America, northern white-cedar wetlands have been declining in area, despite attempts to regenerate them. Improved methods for successfully establishing northern white-cedar are needed; as a result, the target of the first study was to determine if creating microtopography could be beneficial for white-cedar recruitment and growth. In northern Europe, spruce swamp forests have become a threatened ecosystem due to extensive drainage for forestry. As part of the restoration of these habitats, i.e. rewetting through ditch blocking, Sphagnum mosses are considered to be a critical element to re-establish, and an in-depth analysis of how Sphagnum is responding to restoration in spruce swamp forests has not been previously done. As a result, the aim of the second study was to investigate the ecophysiological functioning of Sphagnum and feather mosses across a gradient of pristine, drained, and restored boreal spruce swamp forests.
  • Morozov, Sergey; Leinonen, Tuomas; Merilä, Juha; McCairns, R. J. Scott (2018)
    Conspecifics inhabiting divergent environments frequently differ in morphology, physiology, and performance, but the interrelationships amongst traits and with Darwinian fitness remains poorly understood. We investigated population differentiation in morphology, metabolic rate, and swimming performance in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus L.), contrasting a marine/ancestral population with two distinct freshwater morphotypes derived from it: the typical low-plated morph, and a unique small-plated morph. We test the hypothesis that similar to plate loss in other freshwater populations, reduction in lateral plate size also evolved in response to selection. Additionally, we test how morphology, physiology, and performance have evolved in concert as a response to differences in selection between marine and freshwater environments. We raised pure-bred second-generation fish originating from three populations and quantified their lateral plate coverage, burst- and critical swimming speeds, as well as standard and active metabolic rates. Using a multivariate Q(ST)-F-ST framework, we detected signals of directional selection on metabolic physiology and lateral plate coverage, notably demonstrating that selection is responsible for the reduction in lateral plate coverage in a small-plated stickleback population. We also uncovered signals of multivariate selection amongst all bivariate trait combinations except the two metrics of swimming performance. Divergence between the freshwater and marine populations exceeded neutral expectation in morphology and in most physiological and performance traits, indicating that adaptation to freshwater habitats has occurred, but through different combinations of traits in different populations. These results highlight both the complex interplay between morphology, physiology and performance in local adaptation, and a framework for their investigation.
  • Tolvanen, Kristiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Ecophysiology and ecology in plants are strongly affected by the conditions surrounding them. Adaptation aids plants to survive and to succeed in the prevailing conditions. Winter is a challenge to plants, particularly in northern latitudes and higher altitudes, because it exposes plants to cold and drought, for example. Plants survive from winter on species level with the help of genetic adaptations and as individuals also with the help of acclimation. Woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) has been observed to grow separate winter leaves. This allows it to continue photosynthesis in mild conditions during winter, thus improving its energy balance, and to start growing earlier than other species in the spring, which is beneficial in interspecific competition. Fragaria vesca is a species that has wide distribution in the northern hemisphere, and its genotypes are found from very different locations and conditions. However, adaptive traits such as producing a new set of leaves for winter can turn out to be a disadvantage if environmental conditions change rapidly. Climate change brings about changes that are difficult to predict, and these changes are advancing at a fast pace when compared to the developmental history of plants. The aim of this thesis was to study the effect of temperature on summer and winter leaf development, stolon formation and summer and winter leaf chlorophyll, flavonol and anthocyanin content in different Fragaria vesca genotypes. Leaf chlorophyll and secondary compound content give information about leaf development and stress reactions in plants. Plants are known to produce anthocyanins in order to protect the photosynthetic apparatus during chlorophyll recovery in leaf senescence. Anthocyanins are also produced as a response to low temperatures. Research increases knowledge of the ecophysiological and winter ecology-related processes in Fragaria vesca and in the commercially valuable Rosacea-family as well as provides information about the possible responses of these organisms to climate change. Material for the study consisted of twelve European Fragaria vesca genotypes, which had originally been collected from five countries: Norway, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain. The genotypes had been collected from different latitudes, and they also expressed altitudinal differences. In this study, these genotypes were kept in two temperature treatments, warm (+16°C) and cold (+11°C/six weeks, after which +6°C/four weeks) at a greenhouse. Leaf development was studied by measuring summer and winter leaf middle leaflet width and length, and petiole length. Stolons from each plant individual were counted on a weekly basis and observations about stolon production in relation to the timing of summer leaf senescence and winter leaf development were made at the same time. Leaf chlorophyll and secondary compound content was measured with a Dualex-meter, which provided values for chlorophyll, flavonol and anthocyanin content. The underlying assumption was that cold temperature would induce winter leaf development and summer leaf senescence. The results show that there were differences in summer leaf size between genotypes. Winter leaves had differences between genotypes, but also within genotypes at different temperature treatments. Stolon count was lower and stolon production ceased slightly earlier in the cold treatment. Moreover, summer leaf chlorophyll content decreased in both treatments, but the summer leaves senesced earlier in the warm room. Summer leaf flavonol and anthocyanin values were generally higher in the cooler temperature treatment. Anthocyanins were also produced by winter leaves in the cooler temperature treatment. Based on the results, Fragaria vesca genotypes had differences related to their origin, but temperature also had an effect on winter leaf development, stolon production and the production of secondary compounds. The effect of cold temperature on the size of developing winter leaves was clear. In the cooler temperature treatment, the winter leaves were smaller than in the warmer treatment. The anthocyanin content of summer leaves was higher than in the winter leaves, and the summer leaf anthocyanin content was higher in the colder temperature treatment, where the stress related to the photosynthetic apparatus and low temperatures was combined. Nevertheless, lower temperature did not explain all the responses observed in the genotypes of the study, and thus it is likely that acclimation and winter leaf development in Fragaria vesca are affected by some other factor in addition to temperature, e.g. light regime. A possible continuation for this work would be to study the effect of light conditions or milder winters on winter leaf development in Fragaria vesca genotypes and on the physiology of the species.