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Quantitative Evaluation of the Trade-Off Growth Strategies of Maize Leaves under Different Drought Severities

1
Tianjin Meteorological Bureau, Tianjin 300074, China
2
Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
3
National Climate Center, Beijing 100081, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pilar Montesinos
Water 2021, 13(13), 1852; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131852
Received: 1 June 2021 / Revised: 27 June 2021 / Accepted: 29 June 2021 / Published: 2 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Moisture Content and Crop Production Research)
The leaf is one of the most drought-sensitive plant organs. Investigating how leaf traits change and their trade-off growth during a drought would contribute to developing targeted drought-resistance measures. We investigated changes in five key maize leaf traits (leaf area, dry mass, effective number, water content, and specific weight) and their trade-off growth based on a drought simulation experiment. We also developed an indicator (0, 1) to quantitatively evaluate drought severity. The results showed a trade-off growth between different leaf traits of maize plants under drought conditions. Maize maintained relatively high leaf water content to maintain high leaf metabolic activity until drought severity was greater than 0. When drought severity was (0, 0.48), maize tended to adopt rapid growth strategy by maintaining regular leafing intensity and investing more energy into leaf area rather than specific leaf weight so that more energy could be absorbed. When the drought severity exceeded 0.48, maize conserved its resources for survival by maintaining relatively lower metabolic activity and thicker leaves to minimize water loss. The results provide an insight into the acclimation strategies of maize under drought, and contribute to targeted drought prevention and relief measures to reduce drought-induced risks to food security. View Full-Text
Keywords: maize; drought severity; leaf traits; trade-off growth; rapid growth; survival maize; drought severity; leaf traits; trade-off growth; rapid growth; survival
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ma, X.; Zhou, G.; Li, G.; Wang, Q. Quantitative Evaluation of the Trade-Off Growth Strategies of Maize Leaves under Different Drought Severities. Water 2021, 13, 1852. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131852

AMA Style

Ma X, Zhou G, Li G, Wang Q. Quantitative Evaluation of the Trade-Off Growth Strategies of Maize Leaves under Different Drought Severities. Water. 2021; 13(13):1852. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131852

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ma, Xueyan, Guangsheng Zhou, Gen Li, and Qiuling Wang. 2021. "Quantitative Evaluation of the Trade-Off Growth Strategies of Maize Leaves under Different Drought Severities" Water 13, no. 13: 1852. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131852

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