Special Issue "Genetic and Morphological Variation in Tropical and Temperate Plant Species"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. W. John Kress
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA
Interests: systematic biology; evolutionary biology; conservation biology; DNA barcoding
Dr. Nancai Pei
Website
Guest Editor
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou, China
Interests: forest biology; plant DNA barcoding; urban forestry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants provide the foundation for the structure and function, as well as interactions, among organisms, in both tropical and temperate zone habitats. To date, many investigations have revealed patterns and mechanisms generating plant diversity at various scales and from diverse ecological perspectives. However, in the era of climate change, anthropogenic disturbance, and rapid urbanization new insights are needed to understand how plant species in these forest habitats are changing and adapting. Investigations of plants in both little-disturbed, more natural environments, as well as in urban areas in which crucial green infrastructure is ever more important for sustaining complex human societies are needed. This Special Issue of Forests will focus on plant variation from the perspectives of morphology, genetics, and function, especially plant interactions with biotic and abiotic factors. Research articles may address any aspect of plant evolution and community phylogenetics (explorations of patterns and mechanisms from diverse organismal levels, e.g., molecular, population, species, community, landscape, and ecosystem), plant functional traits (e.g., nutrient traits of leaf, stem, root; reproductive traits of flower, fruit, seed), and/or responses of plant species to changing environments (e.g., water, atmosphere, soil, human activities). Studies providing quantitative evaluation or description of interactions of plants with animals and microbes, both in natural and urban environments, including terrestrial and aquatic systems, are also welcome.

Dr. W. John Kress
Dr. Nancai Pei
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • tree genetics
  • plant morphology
  • forest biodiversity
  • plant traits
  • plant-animal interactions
  • environmental change

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Research in Forest Biology in the Era of Climate Change and Rapid Urbanization
Forests 2020, 11(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010026 - 23 Dec 2019
Abstract
Green plants provide the foundation for the structure, function, and interactions among organisms in both tropical and temperate zones. To date, many investigations have revealed patterns and mechanisms that generate plant diversity at various scales and from diverse ecological perspectives. However, in the [...] Read more.
Green plants provide the foundation for the structure, function, and interactions among organisms in both tropical and temperate zones. To date, many investigations have revealed patterns and mechanisms that generate plant diversity at various scales and from diverse ecological perspectives. However, in the era of climate change, anthropogenic disturbance, and rapid urbanization, new insights are needed to understand how plant species in these forest habitats are changing and adapting. Here, we recognize four themes that link studies from Asia and Europe presented in this Special Issue: (1) genetic analyses of diverse plant species; (2) above- and below-ground forest biodiversity; (3) trait expression and biological mechanisms; and (4) interactions of woody plants within a changing environment. These investigations enlarge our understanding of the origins of diversity, trait variation and heritability, and plant–environment interactions from diverse perspectives. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Screening of Applicable SSR Molecular Markers Linked to Creeping Trait in Crape Myrtle
Forests 2019, 10(5), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050429 - 18 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Creeping plants have unique ornamental value because they have more branches and flowers and the creeping trait is rare in crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.). In this study, the first filial generation (F1) population was derived from Lagerstroemia fauriei Koehne [...] Read more.
Creeping plants have unique ornamental value because they have more branches and flowers and the creeping trait is rare in crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.). In this study, the first filial generation (F1) population was derived from Lagerstroemia fauriei Koehne (standard) and L. indica “Creole” (creeping) and the backcross1 (BC1) population was derived from the backcross of F1 individual S82 (creeping) and L. fauriei. The segregation of the creeping trait was analyzed for 174 seedlings of the BC1 population to examine the linkage relationship between simple sequence repeat (SSR) molecular markers and the creeping trait. Creeping genes were screened using bulked segregant analysis combined with 322 SSR primers, which were detected with good polymorphism. The results show that two SSR markers (S364 and LYS12) were detected, with genetic distances of 23.49 centimorgan (cM) and 25.86 cM from the loci controlling the plant opening angle trait and the branching angle trait, respectively. The accuracy rate for phenotypic verification using S364 and LYS12 was 76.51% and 74.14%, respectively. Our results provide basic information for the molecular marker-assisted selective breeding and cloning of the creeping gene to improve architecture diversity in the breeding of crape myrtle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria on the Growth, Photosynthesis, and Nutrient Uptake of Camellia oleifera Abel.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040348 - 20 Apr 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Phosphorus (P) is a necessary nutrient for plant growth and plays an important role in plant metabolisms; however, the majority of P in soil is in insoluble forms. Phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) can convert the insoluble phosphates into plant-available forms and may have [...] Read more.
Phosphorus (P) is a necessary nutrient for plant growth and plays an important role in plant metabolisms; however, the majority of P in soil is in insoluble forms. Phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) can convert the insoluble phosphates into plant-available forms and may have the potential for use in sustainable agricultural practices. This study examined the effects of two native PSB, namely Bacillus aryabhattai (JX285) and Pseudomonas auricularis (HN038), and a mixture of both strains (1:1) on the growth of Camellia oleifera Abel. seedlings. The results showed a significant promotion of the growth of C. oleifera plants by three inoculation treatments. All the PSB inoculation treatments could improve the leaf nitrogen (N) and P content and had positive effects on the available N, P, and potassium (K) content of rhizosphere soil. A co-inoculation of the two native PSB strains caused a synergistic effect and achieved the best benefit. In conclusion, B. aryabhattai and P. auricularis could be used as biological agents instead of chemical fertilizers for agricultural production to reduce environmental pollution and increase the yield of tea oil. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heterodichogamy, Pollen Viability, and Seed Set in a Population of Polyploidy Cyclocarya Paliurus (Batal) Iljinskaja (Juglandaceae)
Forests 2019, 10(4), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040347 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Research Highlights: Cyclocarya paliurus, native to the subtropical region of China, is a monoecious species with a heterodichogamous mating system. Its flowering phenology and low seed success characteristics differ from other typical heterodichogamous Juglandaceae species. This could be caused by the existence [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: Cyclocarya paliurus, native to the subtropical region of China, is a monoecious species with a heterodichogamous mating system. Its flowering phenology and low seed success characteristics differ from other typical heterodichogamous Juglandaceae species. This could be caused by the existence of polyploidy in the population. Background and Objectives: C. paliurus has been attracting more attention as a result of its medicinal value. To meet the needs for leaf harvest, cultivation expansion is required, but this is limited by a shortage of seeds. This study aims to profile the flowering phenology and the efficacy of pollen dispersal as well as elucidate on the mechanism of low seed success in the population. Materials and Methods: The flowering phenology pattern of C. paliurus was observed in a juvenile plantation containing 835 individuals of 53 families from 8 provenances at the individual (protandry, PA and protogyny, PG) and population levels for 5 consecutive years (2014–2018). Slides with a culture medium of 10% sucrose and 0.01% boric acid were used to estimate pollen density and viability in the population, and seeds were collected from 20 randomly selected PA and PG individuals to assess seed success during 2017–2018. Results: Four flowering phenotypes and strongly skewed ratios of PA/PG and male/female occurred in the juvenile population. Sexual type and ratio changed significantly with the growth of the population over the years, showing an increasing monoecious group (11.1% to 57.2%) and a decreasing unisexual group (33.6% to 16.3%), as well as a tendency for the sexual ratio to move towards equilibrium (5.42:1 to 1.39:1 for PG:PA). Two flowering phases and bimodality in gender were displayed, as in other heterodichogamous species. However, the high overlap of inter-phases and within individuals was quite different from many previous reports. Owing to the low pollen viability of C. paliurus (~30%), low seed success was monitored in the plantation, as well as in the investigated natural populations. Conclusions: Female-bias (PG and F) and a skewed ratio of mating types corresponded to nutrient accumulation in the juvenile population. Heterodichogamy in C. paliurus was verified, but was shown to be different from other documented species in Juglandaceae. The latest finding of major tetraploidy in a natural population could explain the characteristics of the flowering phenology and seed set of C. paliurus and also give rise to more questions to be answered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Lime Application and Understory Removal on Soil Microbial Communities in Subtropical Eucalyptus L’Hér. Plantations
Forests 2019, 10(4), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040338 - 16 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Soil microorganisms play key roles in ecosystems and respond quickly to environmental changes. Liming and/or understory removal are important forest management practices and have been widely applied to planted forests in humid subtropical and tropical regions of the world. However, few studies have [...] Read more.
Soil microorganisms play key roles in ecosystems and respond quickly to environmental changes. Liming and/or understory removal are important forest management practices and have been widely applied to planted forests in humid subtropical and tropical regions of the world. However, few studies have explored the impacts of lime application, understory removal, and their interactive effects on soil microbial communities. We conducted a lime application experiment combined with understory removal in a subtropical Eucalyptus L’Hér. plantation. Responses of soil microbial communities (indicated by phospholipid fatty acids, PLFAs), soil physico-chemical properties, and litter decomposition rate to lime and/or understory removal were measured. Lime application significantly decreased both fungal and bacterial PLFAs, causing declines in total PLFAs. Understory removal reduced the fungal PLFAs but had no effect on the bacterial PLFAs, leading to decreases in the total PLFAs and in the ratio of fungal to bacterial PLFAs. No interaction between lime application and understory removal on soil microbial community compositions was observed. Changes in soil microbial communities caused by lime application were mainly attributed to increases in soil pH and NO3-N contents, while changes caused by understory removal were mainly due to the indirect effects on soil microclimate and the decreased soil dissolved carbon contents. Furthermore, both lime application and understory removal significantly reduced the litter decomposition rates, which indicates the lime application and understory removal may impact the microbe-mediated soil ecological process. Our results suggest that lime application may not be suitable for the management of subtropical Eucalyptus plantations. Likewise, understory vegetation helps to maintain soil microbial communities and litter decomposition rate; it should not be removed from Eucalyptus plantations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Differentiation and Non-Linear Responses in Temporal Phenotypic Plasticity of Seasonal Phenophases in a Common Garden of Crataegus monogyna Jacq.
Forests 2019, 10(4), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040293 - 27 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Phenology in perennial plants implies the temporal occurrence of biological events throughout the year. Heritable phenotypic plasticity in the timing of the phenophases can be of importance in the adaptation of woody species to a quickly changing environment. We observed the timing of [...] Read more.
Phenology in perennial plants implies the temporal occurrence of biological events throughout the year. Heritable phenotypic plasticity in the timing of the phenophases can be of importance in the adaptation of woody species to a quickly changing environment. We observed the timing of bud burst, flower opening, leaf senescence and leaf fall in two successive years in a common garden of Crataegus monogyna Jacq. in Belgium, consisting of six local and five non-local provenances. Data were processed with cumulative logistic mixed models. Strong auto-correlation was present among the spring phenophases as well as among the autumnal phenophases, with spring phenophases being negatively correlated with fall phenophases. The strongest between-provenance differentiation was found for the timing of bud burst in spring, followed by flower opening and finally by leaf senescence and leaf fall. Warmer spring temperatures in March 2017 advanced the timing of bud burst, and to a lesser extent of flower opening, in all provenances compared to 2016. However, the advancement was non-linear among the provenances, with the lower latitude provenances being relatively less early and the higher elevation provenances being more late than the local provenances in this year. It can be hypothesized that non-local provenances display larger temporal phenotypic plastic responses in the timing of their spring phenophases compared to local provenances when temperatures in the common garden deviate more from their home-sites. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pinus massoniana Introgression Hybrids Display Differential Expression of Reproductive Genes
Forests 2019, 10(3), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030230 - 05 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Pinus massoniana and P. hwangshanensis are two conifer species located in southern China, which are of both economic and ornamental value. Around the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, P. massoniana occurs mainly at altitudes below 700 m, while P. hwangshanensis [...] Read more.
Pinus massoniana and P. hwangshanensis are two conifer species located in southern China, which are of both economic and ornamental value. Around the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, P. massoniana occurs mainly at altitudes below 700 m, while P. hwangshanensis can be found above 900 m. At altitudes where the distribution of both pines overlaps, a natural introgression hybrid exists, which we will further refer to as the Z pine. This pine has a morphological character that shares attributes of both P. massoniana and P. hwangshanensis. However, compared to the other two pines, its reproductive structure, the pinecone, has an ultra-low ripening rate with seeds that germinate poorly. In this study, we aimed to find the reason for the impaired cone maturation by comparing transcriptome libraries of P. massoniana and Z pine cones at seven successive growth stages. After sequencing and assembly, we obtained unigenes and then annotated them against NCBI’s non-redundant nucleotide and protein sequences, Swiss-Prot, Clusters of Orthologous Groups, Gene Ontology and KEGG Orthology databases. Gene expression levels were estimated and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of the two pines were mined and analyzed. We found that several of them indeed relate to reproductive process. At every growth stage, these genes are expressed at a higher level in P. massoniana than in the Z pine. These data provide insight into understanding which molecular mechanisms are altered between P. massoniana and the Z pine that might cause changes in the reproductive process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Diversity of the Endangered Dalbergia odorifera Revealed by SSR Markers
Forests 2019, 10(3), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030225 - 03 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Dalbergia odorifera T. Chen (Fabaceae) is a semi-deciduous tree species indigenous to Hainan Island in China. Due to its precious heartwood “Hualimu (Chinese)” and Chinese medicinal components “Jiangxiang”, D. odorifera is seriously threatened of long-term overexploitation and has been listed on the IUCN [...] Read more.
Dalbergia odorifera T. Chen (Fabaceae) is a semi-deciduous tree species indigenous to Hainan Island in China. Due to its precious heartwood “Hualimu (Chinese)” and Chinese medicinal components “Jiangxiang”, D. odorifera is seriously threatened of long-term overexploitation and has been listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature’s) red list since 1998. Therefore, the elucidation of its genetic diversity is imperative for conservation and breeding purposes. In this study, we evaluated the genetic diversity of 42 wild D. odorifera trees from seven populations covering its whole native distribution. In total, 19 SSR (simple sequence repeat) markers harbored 54 alleles across the 42 samples, and the medium genetic diversity level was inferred by Nei’s gene diversity (0.36), observed (0.28) and expected heterozygosity (0.37). Among the seven wild populations, the expected heterozygosity (He) varied from 0.31 (HNQS) to 0.40 (HNCJ). The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that only 3% genetic variation existed among populations. Moderate population differentiations among the investigated populations were indicated by pairwise Fst (0.042–0.115). Structure analysis suggested two clusters for the 42 samples. Moreover, the seven populations were clearly distinguished into two clusters from both the principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and neighbor-joining (NJ) analysis. Populations from Haikou city (HNHK), Baisha autonomous county (HNBS), Ledong autonomous county (HNLD), and Dongfang city (HNDF) comprised cluster I, while cluster II comprised the populations from Wenchang city and Sansha city (HNQS), Changjiang autonomous county (HNCJ), and Wuzhisan city (HNWZS). The findings of this study provide a preliminary genetic basis for the conservation, management, and restoration of this endemic species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Physiological and Transcriptome Analysis of a Yellow-Green Leaf Mutant in Birch (Betula platyphylla × B. Pendula)
Forests 2019, 10(2), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020120 - 02 Feb 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Chlorophyll (Chl)-deficient mutants are ideal materials for the study of Chl biosynthesis, chloroplast development, and photosynthesis. Although the genes encoding key enzymes related to Chl biosynthesis have been well-characterized in herbaceous plants, rice (Oryza sativa L.), Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), and maize [...] Read more.
Chlorophyll (Chl)-deficient mutants are ideal materials for the study of Chl biosynthesis, chloroplast development, and photosynthesis. Although the genes encoding key enzymes related to Chl biosynthesis have been well-characterized in herbaceous plants, rice (Oryza sativa L.), Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), and maize (Zea mays L.), yellow-green leaf mutants have not yet been fully studied in tree species. In this work, we explored the molecular mechanism of the leaf color formation in a yellow-green leaf mutant (yl). We investigated the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between yl and control plants (wild type birch (WT) and BpCCR1 overexpression line 11, (C11)) by transcriptome sequencing. Approximately 1163 genes (874 down-regulated and 289 up-regulated) and 930 genes (755 down-regulated and 175 up-regulated) were found to be differentially expressed in yl compared with WT and C11, respectively. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis for DEGs revealed that photosynthesis antenna proteins represent the most significant enriched pathway. The expressions of photosynthesis antenna proteins are crucial to the leaf color formation in yl. We also found that Chl accumulate, leaf anatomical structure, photosynthesis, and growth were affected in yl. Taken together, our results not only provide the difference of phenomenal, physiological, and gene expression characteristics in leaves between yl mutant and control plants, but also provide a new insight into the mutation underlying the chlorotic leaf phenotype in birch. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Analysis and Expression Profiling of the Heat Shock Factor Gene Family in Phyllostachys edulis during Development and in Response to Abiotic Stresses
Forests 2019, 10(2), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020100 - 26 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs) play crucial roles in regulating plant responses to heat and other stresses, as well as in plant development. As the largest monopodial bamboo species in the world, how to adapt to various stresses under the background of global [...] Read more.
Heat shock transcription factors (Hsfs) play crucial roles in regulating plant responses to heat and other stresses, as well as in plant development. As the largest monopodial bamboo species in the world, how to adapt to various stresses under the background of global climate change is very important for the sustainable development of bamboo forest. However, our understanding of the function of Hsfs in moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) is limited. In this study, a total of 22 non-redundant Hsf genes were identified in the moso bamboo genome. Structural characteristics and phylogenetic analysis revealed that members of the PheHsf family can be clustered into three classes (A, B and C). Furthermore, PheHsfs promoters contained a number of stress-, hormone- and development-related cis-acting elements. Transcriptome analysis indicated that most PheHsfs participate in rapid shoot growth and flower development in moso bamboo. Moreover, the expression patterns of all 12 members of class A were analyzed under various stresses (heat, drought, salt and cold treatment) through Figurereal-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Within the class A PheHsf members, PheHsfA1a was expressed mainly during moso bamboo development. Expression of four PheHsfA4s and one PheHsfA2 (PheHsfA4a-1, PheHsfA4a-2, PheHsfA4d-1, PheHsfA4d-2, and PheHsfA2a-2) was up-regulated in response to various stresses. PheHsfA2a-2, PheHsfA4d-1 and PheHsfA4d-2 were strongly induced respectively by heat, drought and NaCl stress. Through co-expression analysis we found that two hub genes PheHsfA4a-2 and PheHsfA4a-1 were involved in a complex protein interaction network. Based on the prediction of protein interaction networks, five PheHsfAs (PheHsfA4a-1, PheHsfA4a-2, PheHsfA4d-1, PheHsfA4d-2, and PheHsfA2a-2) were predicted to play an important role in flower and shoot development and abiotic stress response of moso bamboo. This study provides an overview of the complexity of the PheHsf gene family and a basis for analyzing the functions of PheHsf genes of interest. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
DNA Barcoding Analysis and Phylogenetic Relation of Mangroves in Guangdong Province, China
Forests 2019, 10(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010056 - 12 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Mangroves are distributed in the transition zone between sea and land, mostly in tropical and subtropical areas. They provide important ecosystem services and are therefore economically valuable. DNA barcoding is a useful tool for species identification and phylogenetic reconstruction. To evaluate the effectiveness [...] Read more.
Mangroves are distributed in the transition zone between sea and land, mostly in tropical and subtropical areas. They provide important ecosystem services and are therefore economically valuable. DNA barcoding is a useful tool for species identification and phylogenetic reconstruction. To evaluate the effectiveness of DNA barcoding in identifying mangrove species, we sampled 135 individuals representing 23 species, 22 genera, and 17 families from Zhanjiang, Shenzhen, Huizhou, and Shantou in the Guangdong province, China. We tested the universality of four DNA barcodes, namely rbcL, matK, trnH-psbA, and the internal transcribed spacer of nuclear ribosomal DNA (ITS), and examined their efficacy for species identification and the phylogenetic reconstruction of mangroves. The success rates for PCR amplification of rbcL, matK, trnH-psbA, and ITS were 100%, 80.29% ± 8.48%, 99.38% ± 1.25%, and 97.18% ± 3.25%, respectively, and the rates of DNA sequencing were 100%, 75.04% ± 6.26%, 94.57% ± 5.06%, and 83.35% ± 4.05%, respectively. These results suggest that both rbcL and trnH–psbA are universal in mangrove species from the Guangdong province. The highest success rate for species identification was 84.48% ± 12.09% with trnH-psbA, followed by rbcL (82.16% ± 9.68%), ITS (66.48% ± 5.97%), and matK (65.09% ± 6.00%), which increased to 91.25% ± 9.78% with the addition of rbcL. Additionally, the identification rate of mangroves was not significantly different between rbcL + trnH-psbA and other random fragment combinations. In conclusion, rbcL and trnH-psbA were the most suitable DNA barcode fragments for species identification in mangrove plants. When the phylogenetic relationships were constructed with random fragment combinations, the optimal evolutionary tree with high supporting values (86.33% ± 4.16%) was established using the combination of matK + rbcL + trnH-psbA + ITS in mangroves. In total, the 476 newly acquired sequences in this study lay the foundation for a DNA barcode database of mangroves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Impact on Leaf Phenology and Spring Frost Susceptibility in a Quercus robur L. Provenance Trial
Forests 2019, 10(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010050 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research highlights: The susceptibility of oaks to late spring and early autumn frosts is directly related to their leaf phenology. Drought may alter the leaf phenology and therefore frost tolerance of oaks. However, the effects of drought on oak leaf phenology and frost [...] Read more.
Research highlights: The susceptibility of oaks to late spring and early autumn frosts is directly related to their leaf phenology. Drought may alter the leaf phenology and therefore frost tolerance of oaks. However, the effects of drought on oak leaf phenology and frost resistance have not been thoroughly studied. Background and objectives: One of the consequences of climate change is an increase in the frequency of dry episodes during the vegetation period. Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) is an economically and ecologically important forest tree species that prefers humid habitats. Therefore, knowledge of the impact of drought on this species is of great importance for the adaptation of forestry strategies and practices to altered environmental conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of drought on leaf phenology and spring frost susceptibility in nine provenances. Materials and methods: One-year-old saplings originating from nine European provenances were used in the trial. The saplings were exposed to experimental drought and then re-watered in two subsequent years. Spring and autumn leaf phenology were scored. The trial was impacted by a late spring frost in the third year, and the resulting leaf frost injury was scored. The effects of drought treatment on the phenology and frost susceptibility of plants from the provenances were analysed. Results: Leaf phenology of plants from most of the studied provenances was significantly influenced by the drought treatment (p < 0.001). Drought induced a carry-over effect on flushing phenology, which was observed as delayed bud burst (from 0.6 to 2.4 days) in the second year and as advanced bud burst (from 0.1 to 6.3 days) in the third year. Therefore, opposite shifts in flushing phenology may be induced as a result of differences in the time span when plants sense water deficits. In contrast to flushing, autumn leaf phenology was unambiguously delayed following the drought treatments for all studied provenances (from 2.1 to 25.8 days). Differences in late frost susceptibility were predominantly caused by among-provenance differences in flushing phenology. However, the drought treatment significantly increased frost susceptibility in the plants (the rate of frost-injured plants per provenance increased from 3% to 78%). This higher susceptibility to spring frost was most likely caused by the advanced flushing phenology that resulted from the drought treatment in the previous year. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variation in Photosynthetic Traits and Correlation with Growth in Teak (Tectona grandis Linn.) Clones
Forests 2019, 10(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010044 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In order to interpret the patterns of genetic variation of photosynthesis and the relationships with growth traits within gene resources of teak (Tectona grandis Linn.), gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, growth traits of plants in nursery and field trials were measured [...] Read more.
In order to interpret the patterns of genetic variation of photosynthesis and the relationships with growth traits within gene resources of teak (Tectona grandis Linn.), gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, growth traits of plants in nursery and field trials were measured for 20 teak clones originated from different countries. The results show that there was abundant genetic variation in gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, and growth among the teak clones. The measured traits were found to have generally high heritability (h2) except for intercellular concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) (Ci). The net photosynthetic rate (Pn), seedling height, and individual volume of wood were significantly correlated with each other, and seedling height was significantly correlated with plant height in field trials, suggesting that Pn and seedling height can be useful in teak breeding. Teak clones 7029, 71-5, 7219, 7412, and 7122, and provenances 3070, 3074, and 3071 had higher photosynthetic rates, and can be regarded as a key resource in teak improvement programs. This work provides useful information for teak breeding and germplasm resource management. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Diversity Estimation and Antimicrobial Activity of Culturable Endophytic Fungi from Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers. in China
Forests 2019, 10(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010033 - 06 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Endophytes are important components of forest ecosystems, and have potential use in the development of medical drugs and the conservation of wild medicinal plants. This study aimed to examine the diversity and antimicrobial activities of endophytic fungi from a medicinal plant, Litsea cubeba [...] Read more.
Endophytes are important components of forest ecosystems, and have potential use in the development of medical drugs and the conservation of wild medicinal plants. This study aimed to examine the diversity and antimicrobial activities of endophytic fungi from a medicinal plant, Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers. The results showed that a total of 970 isolates were obtained from root, stem, leaf, and fruit segments of L. cubeba. All the fungal endophytes belonged to the phylum Ascomycota and could be classified into three taxonomic classes, nine orders, twelve families, and seventeen genera. SF15 (Colletotrichum boninense) was the dominant species in L. cubeba. Leaves harbored a greater number of fungal endophytes but lower diversity, while roots harbored the maximum species diversity of endophytic fungi. For the antimicrobial activities, seventeen isolates could inhibit the growth of plant pathogenic fungi, while the extracts of six endophytes showed antimicrobial activity to all the tested pathogenic fungi. Among these endophytes, SF22 (Chaetomium globosum) and SF14 (Penicillium minioluteum) were particularly effective in inhibiting seven plant pathogenic fungi growths and could be further explored for their potential use in biotechnology, medicine, and agriculture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Morphological Characteristics and Allometric Relationships of Shoot in Two Undergrowth Plants: Polygonatum odoratum and Polygonatum multiflorum
Forests 2018, 9(12), 783; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120783 - 19 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The main purpose of this investigation was to describe the spatial arrangement of shoot tissues, as seen in transverse section, and allometric relationships in two contrasting species of Polygonatum i.e., Polygonatum odoratum which commonly grows in mixed pine-oak forest with shoots rectangular in [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this investigation was to describe the spatial arrangement of shoot tissues, as seen in transverse section, and allometric relationships in two contrasting species of Polygonatum i.e., Polygonatum odoratum which commonly grows in mixed pine-oak forest with shoots rectangular in shape, and Polygonatum multiflorum found in oak-hornbeam forest with cylindrical shoots. The mass and length of the aerial shoots of each individual plant were measured. The shoot regions of each plant were then categorized as basal (b), central (c) or apical (a). Transverse sections of these shoot regions were subsequently cut, and the following parameters were measured: (1) Diameter of shoots, (2) thickness of the outer and inner zones of parenchyma and (3) thickness of the sclerenchyma zone. Additional allometric relationships between the various measurements were computed and determined as Pearson’s correlation coefficients (r). Both species of Polygonatum differed significantly with respect to the length, diameter and thickness of the outer zone of parenchyma. Shoots of P. multiflorum were taller but narrower than those of P. odoratum, which had a significantly wider zone of outer parenchyma. Allometric relationships were stronger for P. multiflorum, and for both species, they were generally stronger in the basal part of the shoot. We conclude that in P. multiflorum, the strong correlation between the diameter and length of the shoot seems to be important to the growth in shaded environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Diversity and Utilization of Edible Plants and Macro-Fungi in Subtropical Guangdong Province, Southern China
Forests 2018, 9(11), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110666 - 25 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Food supply from forests is a fundamental component of forest ecosystem services, but information relating to suitability for human consumption and sustainable utilization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in developing countries is lacking. To address this gap in knowledge, diverse datasets of edible [...] Read more.
Food supply from forests is a fundamental component of forest ecosystem services, but information relating to suitability for human consumption and sustainable utilization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in developing countries is lacking. To address this gap in knowledge, diverse datasets of edible plants and macro-fungi were obtained from field collections, historical publications, and community surveys across seven cities in Guangdong Province (GP), southern China. Seven edible parts and five food categories of plant species were classified according to usage and specific nutrient components. Edible plant species were also categorized into different seasons and life forms. Our results show that at least 100 plant species (with 64 plant species producing fruit) and 20 macro-fungi were commonly used as edible forest products in subtropical GP. There were 55 and 57 species providing edible parts in summer and autumn, respectively. Many edible plants had multiple uses. Tree and herbaceous species made up the majority of the total. Our study provides evidence that both edible plants and macro-fungi can enrich the food supply for residents in rural and urban areas by acting as supplemental resources. We therefore suggest that, in spite of the prevalence of imported foods due to modern infrastructure, edible NTFPs from subtropical forests might be leveraged to support the increasing demand for food in an era of rapid urbanization and global change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of miRNAs Associated with Graft Union Development in Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch]
Forests 2018, 9(8), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080472 - 03 Aug 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] is a high-value fruit tree with a long juvenile period. The fruiting process of pecan seedlings can be largely accelerated through grafting. As non-coding small RNAs, plant miRNAs participate in various biological processes through negative regulation [...] Read more.
Pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] is a high-value fruit tree with a long juvenile period. The fruiting process of pecan seedlings can be largely accelerated through grafting. As non-coding small RNAs, plant miRNAs participate in various biological processes through negative regulation of gene expression. To reveal the roles of miRNAs in the graft union development of pecan, four small RNA libraries were constructed from the graft union at days 0, 8, 15, and 30 after grafting. A total of 47 conserved miRNAs belonging to 31 families and 39 novel miRNAs were identified. For identified miRNAs, 584 target genes were bioinformatically predicted, and 266 of them were annotated; 29 miRNAs (including 16 conserved and 13 novel miRNAs) were differentially expressed during the graft process. The expression profiles of 12 miRNA were further validated by quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). In addition, qRT-PCR revealed that the expression levels of 3 target genes were negatively correlated with their corresponding miRNAs. We found that miRS26 might be involved in callus formation; miR156, miR160, miR164, miR166, and miRS10 might be associated with vascular bundle formation. These results indicate that the miRNA-mediated gene regulations play important roles in the graft union development of pecan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Analysis of Bael (Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr.) a Member of Family Rutaceae
Forests 2018, 9(8), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080450 - 26 Jul 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. is a medicinally and horticulturally important tree member of the family Rutaceae. It is native to India, where it is also known as Bael. Despite its importance, the genomic resources of this plant are scarce. This study presented the [...] Read more.
Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. is a medicinally and horticulturally important tree member of the family Rutaceae. It is native to India, where it is also known as Bael. Despite its importance, the genomic resources of this plant are scarce. This study presented the first-ever report of expressed transcripts in the leaves of Aegle marmelos. A total of 133,616 contigs were assembled to 46,335 unigenes with minimum and maximum lengths of 201 bp and 14,853 bp, respectively. There were 7002 transcription factors and 94,479 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The A. marmelos transcripts were also annotated based on information from other members of Rutaceae; namely Citrus clementina and Citrus sinensis. A total of 482 transcripts were annotated as cytochrome p450s (CYPs), and 314 transcripts were annotated as glucosyltransferases (GTs). In the A. marmelos leaves, the monoterpenoid biosynthesis pathway was predominant. This study provides an important genomic resource along with useful information about A. marmelos. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Diversity and Structure through Three Cycles of a Eucalyptus urophylla S.T.Blake Breeding Program
Forests 2018, 9(7), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070372 - 21 Jun 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Eucalyptus urophylla S.T.Blake is an important commercial tropical plantation species worldwide. In China, a breeding program for this species has progressed through three cycles but genetic diversity and structure in the breeding populations are uncertain. A sampling of field trials from these populations [...] Read more.
Eucalyptus urophylla S.T.Blake is an important commercial tropical plantation species worldwide. In China, a breeding program for this species has progressed through three cycles but genetic diversity and structure in the breeding populations are uncertain. A sampling of field trials from these populations was carried out to evaluate their genetic diversity and structure using 16 microsatellite loci. Significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium were recorded at all 16 loci in the populations. Overall expected and observed heterozygosity (He and Ho) estimates of 0.87 and 0.59 respectively for the first cycle population, and 0.88 and 0.60 respectively for the third cycle population, revealed reasonably high levels of genetic diversity. The genetic differentiation coefficient (Fst) revealed low differentiation among pairs of provenances (from the species’ native range) comprising the first cycle population (range: 0.012–0.108), and AMOVA results showed that the majority of molecular genetic variation existed among individuals rather than among provenances for the first cycle population and among individuals rather than among field trial sources in the third cycle population. Levels of genetic diversity appeared to remain unchanged from the first to third cycle populations, and the results indicate prospects for maintaining if not increasing diversity through recurrent breeding. Likely effects of artificial directional selection, prior to sampling, on both populations examined are discussed along with implications for future E. urophylla breeding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Identification and Characterization of MADS-box Family Genes Related to Floral Organ Development and Stress Resistance in Hevea brasiliensis Müll. Arg.
Forests 2018, 9(6), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060304 - 29 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Elucidating the genetic mechanisms associated with the transition from the vegetative to reproductive phase in the rubber tree has great importance for both theoretical guidance and practical application to yield genetic improvement. At present, many transcription factors, including those that belong to the [...] Read more.
Elucidating the genetic mechanisms associated with the transition from the vegetative to reproductive phase in the rubber tree has great importance for both theoretical guidance and practical application to yield genetic improvement. At present, many transcription factors, including those that belong to the MADS-box gene family, have been revealed to have roles in regulating the transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth. However, to the best of our knowledge, the Mad-box gene family from H. brasiliensis Müll. Arg. has not been characterized in detail. To investigate members of the HbMADS-box gene family associated with floral organ and inflorescence development in H. brasiliensis, we performed genome-wide identification and analysis of the MADS-box gene family related to flower development in H. brasiliensis, and a total of 20 MADS-box genes were newly identified in the H. brasiliensis genome. Expression profiling revealed that HbMad-box genes were differentially expressed in various tissues, which indicated that HbMad-box genes may exert different functions throughout the life cycle. Additionally, 12 genes (HbSEP, HbAGL9.1, HbAGL9.2, HbCMB1, HbCMB1-L, HbAGL6, HbAGL8, HbAP1, HbAG, HbDEFL, HbTT16, and HbPADS2) were found to be associated with the differentiation of flower buds and may be involved in flower development in H. brasiliensis. All of these floral-enriched HbMADS-box genes were regulated by hormone, salt, cold, high-temperature, and drought stresses. The present study is the first to carry out the genome-wide identification and analysis of the MADS-box gene family related to flower development in H. brasiliensis, and 20 new HbMad-box genes were identified in H. brasiliensis. Most of the newly identified HbMad-box genes were found to be associated with the differentiation of flower buds and may be involved in flower development in H. brasiliensis. Our results demonstrated that HbMad-box genes may be multifunctional regulators that have roles in distinct aspects of development, and are mainly involved in the maintenance of floral organ and inflorescence development. Full article
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