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Ph.D. student Jie Liang published a paper in “Plant Cell & Environment”

2018-11-12

Ph.D. student Jie Liang published the paper “Leaf anatomical traits determine the 18O enrichment of leaf water in coastal halophytes” in Plant Cell & Environment. This paper revealed the leaf traits determined the lower 18O enrichment of leaf water in coastal halophyte plants.

Whether leaf traits effect isotopic fractionation of leaf water has been a controversial issue since leaf water isotope model was built.  The difficulty is it is hard to find significantly different leaf traits without changing environmental conditions. Sternberg’s group has concerned this topic for several years and conducted a control experiment about effect stomatal traits on the leaf water isotope enrichment (leaf water isotope mins stem water isotope). Based on their research, we investigated 5 seaward transect sites including 15 mangrove species, 4 semi-mangrove species and 13 freshwater plants. On each site, meteorological conditions across these three vegetation types are similar while both the leaf traits and leaf water isotope enrichment are different among them.  Mangrove forests evolve typical leaf structures to adapt to high-salinity environments, and many of these adaptations may leave imprints in leaf water isotopes. Our comprehensive field study confirmed that isotope enrichment of leaf water (△L) in mangroves were generally lower than those of the adjacent non-mangrove at multiple-site and multiple-species scales and that leaf anatomies determined the lower 18O enrichment of leaf water in coastal halophyte plants by driving the effective mixing path length.

The potential species-specific anatomical determinants of △L based on a large pool of species can be incorporated into the leaf water model, which will have considerable potential applications not only in interpreting environmental information from metabolites produced by leaf water isotopes for palaeoclimate research but also in distinguishing what kinds of plants with strong peclet effect.

Guanghui Lin is the corresponding author in this paper, Jonathan Wright and Leonel Sternberg are the co-authors.

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