The expression of light-related leaf functional traits depends on the location of individual leaves within the crown of isolated Olea europaea trees



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Escribano Rocafort, Adrián Gaspar and Ventre-Lespiaucq, Agustina B. and Granado Yela, Carlos and Rubio de Casas, Rafael and Delgado Sáez, Juan Antonio and Balaguer, Luis (2016) The expression of light-related leaf functional traits depends on the location of individual leaves within the crown of isolated Olea europaea trees. Annals of Botany, 117 . pp. 643-651. ISSN 0305-7364

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Background: The spatial arrangement and expression of foliar syndromes within tree crowns can reflect the coupling between crown form and function in a given environment. Isolated trees subjected to high irradiance and concomitant stress may adjust leaf phenotypes to cope with environmental gradients that are heterogeneous in space and time within the tree crown. The distinct expression of leaf phenotypes among crown positions could lead to complementary patterns in light interception at the crown scale.
Methods: We quantified eight light-related leaf traits across 12 crown positions of ten isolated Olea europaea trees in the field. Specifically, we investigated whether the phenotypic expression of foliar traits differed among crown sectors and layers and five periods of the day from sunrise to sunset. We investigated the consequences in terms of the exposed area of the leaves at the tree scale during a single day.
Key Results: All traits differed among crown positions except the length-to-width ratio of the leaves. We found a strong complementarity in the patterns of the potential exposed area of the leaves among day periods as a result of a non-random distribution of leaf angles across the crown. Leaf exposure at the outer layer was below 60 % of the displayed surface, reaching maximum interception during morning periods. Daily interception increased towards the inner layer, achieving consecutive maximization from east to west positions within the crown, matching the sun’s trajectory.
Conclusions: The expression of leaf traits within isolated trees of O. europaea varies continuously through the crown in a gradient of leaf morphotypes and leaf angles depending on the exposure and location of individual leaves. The distribution of light-related traits within the crown and the complementarity in the potential exposure patterns of the leaves during the day challenges the assumption of low trait variability within individuals.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Crown structure, leaf traits, leaf exposure, direct light, Olea europaea, isolated trees, high irradiance, leaf angles, daily pattern, variation within individuals
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Botany
Medical sciences > Biology > Plant physiology
ID Code:42194
Deposited On:18 Apr 2017 12:23
Last Modified:09 Apr 2019 09:26

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