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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Relationship between foliar C-13 and sapwood area indicates different water use patterns across 236 Salix genotypes

Beyer, Friderike; Jack, Ortrud; Manzoni, Stefano; Weih, Martin


Key messageThe relationship between sapwood area and foliar C-13 values varies among 236 Salix genotypes, indicating different water use patterns across these genotypes.AbstractThe relationship between leaf C-13 and plant size (represented by e.g. total leaf area) has been used to analyze different water use patterns of plants. However, the total leaf area (TLA) is difficult to assess in trees. Our aims were to (i) identify a feasible predictor for TLA; (ii) estimate the effects of TLA on leaf-level C-13 and O-18 values; and (iii) evaluate whether the relationship between leaf-level C-13 and a TLA proxy can be used to discriminate between different water use patterns. Various leaf and shoot traits of up to 236 Salix genotypes field-grown in Sweden and Italy were assessed and analyzed. Accumulated shoot diameter and sapwood area (SA) calculated from it were the best predictors for TLA. The SA was significantly correlated with foliar C-13, but not O-18 values in some genotypes. The effects of SA on foliar C-13 values varied significantly among genotypes, and the foliar C-13-SA relationship could be used to discriminate between different water use patterns across 236 Salix genotypes. Our results demonstrate a great variability of water use patterns across taxonomically closely related plants, and may also have implications for Salix pre-breeding and selection for different drought conditions.


Breeding for climate change; Drought; Isotopes; Water use efficiency; Intrinsic water use efficiency; Stomatal conductance

Published in

Trees - Structure and Function
2018, Volume: 32, number: 6, pages: 1737-1750