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Seasonal and inter-annual variability of bud development as related to climate in two coexisting Mediterranean Quercus species

Alla, Arben Q., Camarero, J. Julio, Montserrat-Martí, Gabriel
Annals of botany 2013 v.111 no.2 pp. 261-270
Quercus faginea, Quercus ilex, air temperature, buds, climate models, climatic factors, global warming, leaves, seasonal variation, trees
Background and Aims In trees, bud development is driven by endogenous and exogenous factors such as species and climate, respectively. However, knowledge is scarce on how these factors drive changes in bud size across different time scales. Methods The seasonal patterns of apical bud enlargement are related to primary and secondary growth in two coexisting Mediterranean oaks with contrasting leaf habit (Quercus ilex , evergreen; Quercus faginea , deciduous) over three years. In addition, the climatic factors driving changes in bud size of the two oak species were determined by correlating bud mass with climatic variables at different time scales (from 5 to 30 d) over a 15-year period. Key Results The maximum enlargement rate of buds was reached between late July and mid-August in both species. Moreover, apical bud size increased with minimum air temperatures during the period of maximum bud enlargement rates. Conclusions The forecasted rising minimum air temperatures predicted by climatic models may affect bud size and consequently alter crown architecture differentially in sympatric Mediterranean oaks. However, the involvement of several drivers controlling the final size of buds makes it difficult to predict the changes in bud size as related to ongoing climate warming.