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Contrasting Hydraulic Strategies during Dry Soil Conditions in Quercus rubra and Acer rubrum in a Sandy Site in Michigan

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown, CT 06459, USA
2
Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2070 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, 1351 Beal Avenue, 105 EWRE, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4
Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, 195 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2013, 4(4), 1106-1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/f4041106
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
Correlation analyses were carried out for the dynamics of leaf water potential in two broad-leaf deciduous tree species in a sandy site under a range of air vapor pressure deficits and a relatively dry range of soil conditions. During nights when the soil is dry, the diffuse-porous, isohydric and shallow-rooted Acer rubrum does not recharge its xylem and leaf water storage to the same capacity that is observed during nights when the soil is moist. The ring-porous, deep-rooted Quercus rubra displays a more anisohydric behavior and appears to be capable of recharging to capacity at night-time even when soil moisture at the top 1 m is near wilting point, probably by accessing deeper soil layers than A. rubrum. Compared to A. rubrum, Q. rubra displays only a minimal level of down-regulation of stomatal conductance, which leads to a reduction of leaf water potential during times when vapor pressure deficit is high and soil moisture is limiting. We determine that the two species, despite typically being categorized by ecosystem models under the same plant functional type—mid-successional, temperate broadleaf—display different hydraulic strategies. These differences may lead to large differences between the species in water relations, transpiration and productivity under different precipitation and humidity regimes. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecohydrology; leaf water potential; plant functional type; stomatal conductance; succession; transpiration; water relations ecohydrology; leaf water potential; plant functional type; stomatal conductance; succession; transpiration; water relations
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Thomsen, J.E.; Bohrer, G.; Matheny, A.M.; Ivanov, V.Y.; He, L.; Renninger, H.J.; Schäfer, K.V.R. Contrasting Hydraulic Strategies during Dry Soil Conditions in Quercus rubra and Acer rubrum in a Sandy Site in Michigan. Forests 2013, 4, 1106-1120.

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