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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Gehring, Janet L. [1], Mullery, Amanda [2].

Response to water stress by four prairie Helianthus species.

Water availability is a major factor influencing plant distribution on a global and local scale and can result in ecosystem diversity. For example, different levels of water availability in the temperate grasslands of North America are associated with different prairie types. Global climate change is predicted to change precipitation patterns, which may affect plant communities. Identifying differences among species in their response to water availability may contribute to understanding species distribution and, therefore, the conservation of plant diversity in the endangered and highly fragmented North American grasslands. Our study compared the response of four Helianthus prairie species (H. grosseserratus, H. mollis, H. occidentalis, and H. pauciflorus) to low water availability. We performed a five-week dry-down experiment and monitored plant height, relative water content, leaf number and size index, and leaf dry mass content. Helianthus pauciflorus, which often grows in shallow upland soils, was able to maintain leaf relative water content and leaf dry mass to a greater extent than the other three species over the dry-down period. Additionally, H. pauciflorus was the only species to significantly decrease leaf production in response to water stress. These results suggest that H. pauciflorus is capable of drought avoidance by reducing leaf surface area, whereas the other three Helianthus species may be drought tolerators.

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1 - Bradley University, Department Of Biology, 1501 W. Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL, 61625, USA
2 - Bradley University, Department of Biology, 1501 W. Bradley Avenue, Peoria, IL, 61625, USA

plant growth
functional leaf traits
specific leaf area

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEC016
Abstract ID:780
Candidate for Awards:None

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