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Effects of the source:sink ratio on the phenotypic plasticity of stem water potential in olive (Olea europaea L.)
- Trentacoste, Eduardo R., Sadras, Víctor Oscar, Puertas, Carlos Marcelo
- Journal of experimental botany 2011 v.62 no.10 pp. 3535-3543
- Olea europaea, fruits, irrigation, oils, olives, orchards, phenotypic plasticity, plant-water relations, rain, stems, trees, water potential, yield components, Argentina
- The aims of this work were to quantify (i) the effect of the source:sink ratio on stem water potential (SWP) and (ii) the phenotypic plasticity of SWP and its relationship to oil yield components in olive. Trees with a 3-fold variation in the source:sink ratio (crown volume/fruit number per tree) were monitored in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in a fully irrigated orchard in Mendoza, Argentina. The combination of rainfall, irrigation, and evaporative demand led to a steady SWP largely above -1.65 MPa in 2007-2008 and a marked seasonal decline from -1.13 MPa to -2.04 MPa in trees with a medium and low source:sink ratio in 2008-2009. Plasticity was quantified as the slope of the norm of reaction for each trait. Across seasons, trees with a high source:sink ratio had a higher SWP than their counterparts with a medium and low source:sink ratio. Plasticity of SWP was highest in olives with a low source:sink ratio (slope=1.28) and lowest for trees with a high source:sink ratio (slope=0.76). The average SWP for each source:sink ratio and season was unrelated to both the source:sink ratio and yield components. On the other hand, the plasticity of SWP was positively associated with fruit number and negatively associated with the source:sink ratio, fruit weight, and fruit oil weight. The plasticity of the SWP was unrelated to SWP per se. It is concluded that understanding the effect of the source:sink ratio on plant water relations would benefit from a dual perspective considering the trait per se and its plasticity. A dual approach would also allow for more robust plant-based indicators for irrigation.