Special Issue "Metabolomic and Morphological Adaptations of Forests under Climate Change"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Elena Ormeño
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and Ecology—CNRS, 13003 Marseille, France
Interests: plant ecology; plant ecophysiology; fire ecology; plant secondary metabolism; plant abiotic stress; global change
Dr. Silvano Fares
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Research Council, Institute of BioEconomy, Via dei Taurini 19, 00100 Rome, Italy
Interests: forest ecophysiology; plant environmental stress; environmental chemistry; oxidative stress; atmospheric physics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rapid climate changes, occurring naturally or due to human interventions, are well documented worldwide and include warming and drought (and the associated forest fires) or floods depending on the region. The capacity of single trees and shrubs or entire forest ecosystems to survive climate changes is thus critical to the maintenance of their ecological and social services. To face climate changes, forest species modulate their physiological functioning, eventually resulting in changes in their metabolome (production and composition) and morphology. These morpho-chemical modifications (in living plants and litter) are very diverse and include, non-exhaustively, plant growth, litter production, leaf density, tissue, trichome and stomata development and distribution, and production of both primary (e.g., lignin, primary antioxidants) and specific metabolites (e.g., phenolic compounds, terpenes).

Despite the vast amount of literature reporting metabolic and/or morphological modifications under climate change, several fundamental points remain poorly addressed, including the role of such modifications in forest health (CO2 uptake, oxidative pressure), their trade-offs, and metabolite localization as a mechanism to adapt to climate constraints.

This interdisciplinary Special Issue welcomes the submission of articles (original research papers, perspectives, hypotheses, opinions, reviews, modeling approaches, and methods) that tackle changes in metabolomic and/or morphological forest traits in response to climate change, with a focus on living and decomposing plant material, from the cell to the plant and population scales. Such changes can be discussed in the frame of plant health and adaptation to climate change, litter dynamics, or forest functioning as a whole. In addition to these fundamental ecophysiological aspects, this Special Issue welcomes contributions highlighting morpho-metabolomic changes in the context of applied environmental issues exacerbated by climate changes (air pollution, fire hazards), since the plant volatile metabolome is known to modify production of a certain number of air pollutants, and both traits are closely related to plant flammability.

Dr. Elena Ormeño
Dr. Silvano Fares
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • climate adaptations
  • drought
  • flooding stress
  • warming
  • primary metabolites
  • secondary metabolism
  • omics
  • physical defenses
  • leaf imaging
  • trade-offs
  • plant health
  • vegetation flammability
  • canopy
  • litter
  • atmospheric pollution
  • forest fires

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Effect of Fire Frequency on the Flammability of Two Mediterranean Pines: Link with Needle Terpene Content
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2164; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102164 - 12 Oct 2021
Viewed by 298
Abstract
Flammability is a major factor involved in Mediterranean plant evolution that has led to the diversity of fire-related traits according to fire regimes and fire-adaptive strategies. With on-going climate change, new fire regimes are threatening plant species if they do not adapt or [...] Read more.
Flammability is a major factor involved in Mediterranean plant evolution that has led to the diversity of fire-related traits according to fire regimes and fire-adaptive strategies. With on-going climate change, new fire regimes are threatening plant species if they do not adapt or acclimate. Studying flammability and terpene content variation according to the different fire frequencies in the recent fire history represents a great challenge to anticipating the flammability of ecosystems in the near future. The flammability of shoots and litter as well as the needle terpene contents of two pine species with different fire adaptive strategies (Pinus halepensis and Pinus sylvestris) were measured according to two fire modalities (0 vs. 1–2 fire events over the last 60 years). Results showed that, regardless of the species and the fuel type, flammability was higher in populations having undergone at least one past fire event even when factors influencing flammability (e.g., structural traits and hydric content) were considered. The terpene content did not vary in P. sylvestris’ needles according to the fire modality, but that of sesqui- and diterpenes was higher in P. halepensis’ needles sampled in the “Fire” modality. In addition, associations made between flammability and terpene content using random forest analyses indicated that the terpene molecules differed between fire modalities for both species and fuel types. The same results were obtained with significant terpenes driving flammability as were highlighted in the PLS analyses, especially for P. halepensis for which enhanced shoot flammability in the “Fire” modality agreed with the adaptive strategy of this species to fire. Full article
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Article
Two-Species Forests at the Treeline of Siberian Mountains: An Ecophysiological Perspective under Climate Change
Plants 2021, 10(4), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040763 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 464
Abstract
In an underexplored region of the East Sayan mountains, ecophysiological traits of two conifers, Pinus sibirica Du Tour and Abies sibírica Ledeb., have been studied. The goal was to predict which of the species co-dominating the same habitat is more vulnerable under prospective [...] Read more.
In an underexplored region of the East Sayan mountains, ecophysiological traits of two conifers, Pinus sibirica Du Tour and Abies sibírica Ledeb., have been studied. The goal was to predict which of the species co-dominating the same habitat is more vulnerable under prospective climate change. Along a transect from the treeline to the floodplain, photosynthetic pigment content and electron-transport rate (ETR) were measured in needles of neighboring trees of the species. From 570 to 1240 m a.s.l., P. sibirica does not suffer from stress factors during the growing season, while A. sibirica does. The latter is reflected in a decrease of pigment content and ETR with the increase of altitude. A stronger climate-change trend (probably to more dry and warm conditions) will likely favor the shift of P. sibirica upper in altitudes, and only under the pine shelter might the fir survive the changes. Full article
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Article
Response of Downy Oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.) to Climate Change: Transcriptome Assembly, Differential Gene Analysis and Targeted Metabolomics
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091149 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 785
Abstract
Global change scenarios in the Mediterranean basin predict a precipitation reduction within the coming hundred years. Therefore, increased drought will affect forests both in terms of adaptive ecology and ecosystemic services. However, how vegetation might adapt to drought is poorly understood. In this [...] Read more.
Global change scenarios in the Mediterranean basin predict a precipitation reduction within the coming hundred years. Therefore, increased drought will affect forests both in terms of adaptive ecology and ecosystemic services. However, how vegetation might adapt to drought is poorly understood. In this report, four years of climate change was simulated by excluding 35% of precipitation above a downy oak forest. RNASeq data allowed us to assemble a genome-guided transcriptome. This led to the identification of differentially expressed features, which was supported by the characterization of target metabolites using a metabolomics approach. We provided 2.5 Tb of RNASeq data and the assembly of the first genome guided transcriptome of Quercus pubescens. Up to 5724 differentially expressed transcripts were obtained; 42 involved in plant response to drought. Transcript set enrichment analysis showed that drought induces an increase in oxidative pressure that is mitigated by the upregulation of ubiquitin-like protein protease, ferrochelatase, oxaloacetate decarboxylase and oxo-acid-lyase activities. Furthermore, the downregulation of auxin biosynthesis and transport, carbohydrate storage metabolism were observed as well as the concomitant accumulation of metabolites, such as oxalic acid, malate and isocitrate. Our data suggest that early metabolic changes in the resistance of Q. pubescens to drought involve a tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle shunt through the glyoxylate pathway, galactose metabolism by reducing carbohydrate storage and increased proteolytic activity. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Downy oak (Quercus pubescens Willd.) response to climate change: transcriptome assembly, differential genes analysis and targeted metabolomics.
Authors: Jean-Philippe MEVY; Beatrice Loriod; Xi Liu; Erwan Corre; Magali Torres; Michael Büttner; Anne Haguenauer; Ilja Marco Reiter; Catherine Fernandez; Thierry Gauquelin
Affiliation: Aix-Marseille université IMBE
Abstract: Global change scenarios in Mediterranean basin predict a precipitation reduction within the coming hundred years. Therefore, increase drought will affect forests both in terms of adaptive ecology and exosystemic services. However, how vegetation might adapt to drought is poorly understood. In this report, four years climate change was simulated by excluding 35% of precipitation above a downy oak forest. RNASeq data allowed to assemble a genome guided transcriptome. This led to the identification of differentially expressed features which was supported by the characterization of target metabolites using a metabolomics approach. We provided 2.5 Tb of RNASeq data and the assembly of the first genome guided transcriptome of Quercus pubescens. Up to 5724 differentially expressed transcripts were obtained; 42 involved in plant response to drought. Transcript set enrichment analysis showed that drought induces an increase oxidative pressure that is mitigated by the upregulation of ubiquitin-like protein protease, ferrochelatase, oxaloacetate decarboxylase and oxo-acid-lyase activities. Also, the down regulation of auxin biosynthesis and transport, carbohydrate storage metabolism were observed as well as the concomitant accumulation of metabolites as oxalic acid, malate and isocitrate. Our data suggest that early metabolic changes of Q. pubescens resistance to drought involve a TCA cycle shunt through the glyoxylate pathway, galactose metabolism by reducing carbohydrates storage and increase proteolytic activity.

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