Research Area: Drought

Xylem cavitation isolates leaky flowers during water stress in pyrethrum

Flowers underpin plant evolution, genetic legacy and global food supply. They are exposed to similar evaporative conditions as leaves, yet floral physiology is a product of different selective forces. We used Tanacetum cinerariifolium, a perennial daisy, to examine the…

Advanced vascular function discovered in a widespread moss

The evolution of terrestrial plants capable of growing upwards into the dry atmosphere profoundly transformed the Earth. A transition from small, ‘non-vascular’ bryophytes to arborescent vascular plants during the Devonian period is partially attributed to the evolutionary innovation…

Xylem Embolism Spreads by Single-Conduit Events in Three Dry Forest Angiosperm Stems

Xylem cavitation resulting in air embolism is a major cause of plant death during drought, yet the spread of embolism throughout the plant water transport system is poorly understood. Our study used optical visualization and x-ray microcomputed tomography…

Declining root water transport drives stomatal closure in olive under moderate water stress

Efficient water transport from soil to leaves sustains stomatal opening and steady‐state photosynthesis. The aboveground portion of this pathway is well‐described, yet the roots and their connection with the soil are still poorly understood due to technical limitations….

Hanging by a thread? Forests and drought

Trees are the living foundations on which most terrestrial biodiversity is built. Central to the success of trees are their woody bodies, which connect their elevated photosynthetic canopies with the essential belowground activities of water and nutrient acquisition….

Neither xylem collapse, cavitation, or changing leaf conductance drive stomatal closure in wheat

Identifying the drivers of stomatal closure and leaf damage during stress in grasses is a critical prerequisite for understanding crop resilience. Here, we investigated whether changes in stomatal conductance (gs) during dehydration were associated with changes in leaf…

Triggers of tree mortality under drought

Severe droughts have caused widespread tree mortality across many forest biomes with profound effects on the function of ecosystems and carbon balance. Climate change is expected to intensify regional-scale droughts, focusing attention on the physiological basis of drought-induced…

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A water availability gradient reveals the deficit level required to affect traits in potted juvenile Eucalyptus globulus

McKeirnan. AB, Potts. BM, Hovenden. MJ, Brodribb. TJ, Davies. NW, Rodemann. T, McAdam. SAM, O'Reilly Wapstra. JM (2017) A water availability gradient reveals the deficit level required to affect traits in potted juvenile Eucalyptus globulus. Annals of Botany 119: 1043-1052

Drought leading to soil water deficit can have severe impacts on plants. Water deficit may lead to plant water stress and affect growth and chemical traits. Plant secondary metabolite (PSM) responses to water deficit vary between compounds and…

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Assessing the suitability of various screening methods as a proxy for drought tolerance in barley

Hasanuzzaman. Md, Shabala. L, Brodribb. TJ, Zhou. M, Shabala. S (2017) Assessing the suitability of various screening methods as a proxy for drought tolerance in barley. Functional Plant Biology 44:253-266

Plant breeders are in the need for a convenient, reproducible, reliable and rapid screening methods to be used as a proxy for drought tolerance for a large number of genotypes. Addressing this need, we compared different physiological measures…

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Are flowers vulnerable to xylem cavitation during drought?

Zhang F-P, Brodribb TJ (2017) Are flowers vulnerable to xylem cavitation during drought? Proc. R. Soc. B 284:20162642. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2642

Water stress is known to cause xylem cavitation in the leaves, roots and stems of plants, but little is known about the vulnerability of flowers to xylem damage during drought. This is an important gap in our understanding…

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