Leaf-trait responses to irrigation of the endemic fog-oasis tree Myrcianthes ferreyrae: Can a fog specialist benefit from regular watering?

David A. Ramírez, Luis Balaguer, Rosa Mancilla, Virginia González, Daniel Coaguila, Carmelo Talavera, Luis Villegas, Aldo Ortega, Percy Jiménez, José M. Moreno

Resultado de la investigación: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

3 Citas (Scopus)


Myrcianthes ferreyrae is an endemic, endangered species, with a small number of individuals located only in hyperarid, fog-oases known as lomas along the Peruvian desert in southern Peru, where fog is the main source of water. Following centuries of severe deforestation, reforestation with this native species was conducted in the Atiquipa lomas, Arequipa-Perú. On five slopes, five 2-year-old seedlings were irrigated monthly with water trapped by raschel-mesh fog collectors, supplementing natural rainfall with 0, 20, 40, 60 and 80 mm month -1 from February to August 2008. We measured plant growth, increment in basal diameter, height and five leaf traits: leaf mass area (LMA), leaf carbon isotope composition (δ 13C), nitrogen per leaf area, total leaf carbon and stomatal density; which are indicative of the physiological changes resulting from increased water supply. Plant growth rates, estimated from the variation of either shoot basal diameter or maximum height, were highly correlated with total biomass. Only LMA and δ 13C were higher in irrigated than in control plants, but we found no further differences among irrigation treatments. This threshold response suggests an on-off strategy fitted to exploit pulses of fog water, which are always limited in magnitude in comparison with natural rain. The absence of a differential response to increased water supply is in agreement with the low phenotypic plasticity expected in plants from very stressful environments. Our results have practical implications for reforestation projects, since irrigating with 20 mm per month is sufficient to achieve the full growth capacity of this species.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)65-73
Número de páginas9
PublicaciónTree Physiology
EstadoPublicada - ene. 2012


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