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PubMed | Mendel University in Brno and Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research PO Box 115 N 1431 As Norway.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Ecology and evolution | Year: 2015

Predicted increases in the frequency and duration of drought are expected to negatively affect tree vitality, but we know little about how water shortage will influence needle anatomy and thereby the trees photosynthetic and hydraulic capacity. In this study, we evaluated anatomical changes in sun and shade needles of 20-year-old Norway spruce trees exposed to artificial drought stress. Canopy position was found to be important for needle structure, as sun needles had significantly higher values than shade needles for all anatomical traits (i.e., cross-sectional needle area, number of tracheids in needle, needle hydraulic conductivity, and tracheid lumen area), except proportion of xylem area per cross-sectional needle area. In sun needles, drought reduced all trait values by 10-40%, whereas in shade needles, only tracheid maximum diameter was reduced by drought. Due to the relatively weaker response of shade needles than sun needles in drought-stressed trees, the difference between the two needle types was reduced by 25% in the drought-stressed trees compared to the control trees. The observed changes in needle anatomy provide new understanding of how Norway spruce adapts to drought stress and may improve predictions of how forests will respond to global climate change.

Drenkhan R.,Estonian University of Life Sciences | Solheim H.,Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research PO Box 115 N 1431 As Norway | Bogacheva A.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Riit T.,University of Tartu | And 4 more authors.
Plant Pathology | Year: 2016

Dieback of European ash was first observed in Europe in the early 1990s. The disease is caused by the invasive ascomycete Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, proposed to originate from Far East Asia, where it has been considered a harmless saprotroph. This study investigates the occurrence of H. fraxineus in tissues of local ash species in the Russian Far East, and assesses its population-specific genetic variation by ITS sequencing. Shoot dieback symptoms, characteristic of H. fraxineus infection on European ash, were common, but not abundant, on Fraxinus mandshurica and Fraxinus rhynchophylla trees in Far East Russia. High levels of pathogen DNA were associated with necrotic leaf tissues of these ash species, indicating that the local H. fraxineus population is pathogenic to their leaves. However, the low levels of H. fraxineus DNA detected in shoots with symptoms, the failure to isolate this fungus from such tissues, and the presence of other fungi with pathogenic potential in shoots with symptoms indicate that local H. fraxineus strains may not be responsible (or their role is negligible) for the observed ash shoot dieback symptoms in the region. Conspicuous differences in ITS rDNA sequences detected between H. fraxineus isolates from Russian Far East and European populations suggest that the current ash dieback epidemic in Europe might not directly originate from the Russian Far East. Revision of the herbarium material shows that the earliest specimen of H. fraxineus was collected in 1962 from the Russian Far East and the oldest H. fraxineus specimen of China was collected in 2004. © 2016 British Society for Plant Pathology.

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