While plant height is the main driver of variation in mean vessel diameter at the stem base (VD) across angiosperms, climate, specifically temperature, does play an explanatory role, with vessels being wider with warmer temperature for plants of the same height. Using a comparative approach sampling 537 species of angiosperms across 19 communities, we rejected selection favoring freezing-induced embolism resistance as being able to account for wider vessels for a given height in warmer climates. Instead, we give reason to suspect that higher vapor pressure deficit VPD accounts for the positive scaling of height-standardized VD (and potential xylem conductance) with temperature. Selection likely favors conductive systems that are able to meet the higher transpirational demand of warmer climates, which have higher VPD, resulting in wider vessels for a given height. At the same time, wider vessels are likely more vulnerable to dysfunction. With future climates likely to experience ever greater extremes of VPD, future forests could be increasingly vulnerable.

Across climates and species, higher vapor pressure deficit is associated with wider vessels for plants of the same heigh

Tommaso Anfodillo
;
2020

Abstract

While plant height is the main driver of variation in mean vessel diameter at the stem base (VD) across angiosperms, climate, specifically temperature, does play an explanatory role, with vessels being wider with warmer temperature for plants of the same height. Using a comparative approach sampling 537 species of angiosperms across 19 communities, we rejected selection favoring freezing-induced embolism resistance as being able to account for wider vessels for a given height in warmer climates. Instead, we give reason to suspect that higher vapor pressure deficit VPD accounts for the positive scaling of height-standardized VD (and potential xylem conductance) with temperature. Selection likely favors conductive systems that are able to meet the higher transpirational demand of warmer climates, which have higher VPD, resulting in wider vessels for a given height. At the same time, wider vessels are likely more vulnerable to dysfunction. With future climates likely to experience ever greater extremes of VPD, future forests could be increasingly vulnerable.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3351650
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