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Plants 2013, 2(3), 473-488; doi:10.3390/plants2030473

Network Connectance Analysis as a Tool to Understand Homeostasis of Plants under Environmental Changes

1
Plant Ecological Cognition Laboratory, Western São Paulo University (UNOESTE), Rod. Raposo Tavares, km 572, 19067-175 Presidente Prudente, São Paulo, Brazil
2
Department of Botany, São Paulo State University "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" (UNESP), Av. 24A, 1515, 13506-900 Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 May 2013 / Revised: 2 July 2013 / Accepted: 3 July 2013 / Published: 10 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex System Theory Applied to Plant Sciences)
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Abstract

The homeostasis of plants under environmental constraints may be maintained by alterations in the organization of their physiological networks. The ability to control a network depends on the strength of the connections between network elements, which is called network connectance. Herein, we intend to provide more evidence on the existence of a modulation pattern of photosynthetic networks, in response to adverse environmental conditions. Two species (Glycine max-C3 metabolism, and Brachiaria brizantha-C4 metabolism) were submitted to two environmental constraints (water availability, and high and low temperatures), and from the physiological parameters measured, the global connectance (Cgtotal) and the modules connectance (gas exchange-Cgge and photochemical-Cgpho) were analyzed. Both types of environmental constraints impaired the photosynthetic capacity and the growth of the plants, indicating loss of their homeostasis, but in different ways. The results showed that in general the Cgtotal of both species increased with temperature increment and water deficit, indicating a higher modulation of photosynthetic networks. However, the Cg variation in both species did not influence the total dry biomass that was reduced by environmental adversities. This outcome is probably associated with a loss of system homeostasis. The connectance network analyses indicated a possible lack of correspondence between the photosynthetic networks modulation patterns and the homeostasis loss. However, this kind of analysis can be a powerful tool to access the degree of stability of a biological system, as well as to allow greater understanding of the dynamics underlying the photosynthetic processes that maintain the identity of the systems under environmental adversities. View Full-Text
Keywords: network connectance; physiological network; stability; water deficit; low and high temperature; C3 and C4 photosynthetic type metabolisms network connectance; physiological network; stability; water deficit; low and high temperature; C3 and C4 photosynthetic type metabolisms
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bertolli, S.C.; Vítolo, H.F.; Souza, G.M. Network Connectance Analysis as a Tool to Understand Homeostasis of Plants under Environmental Changes. Plants 2013, 2, 473-488.

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