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Furze, Morgan [1], Wainwright, Dylan [2], Huggett, Brett [3], Knipfer, Thorsten [4], McElrone, Andrew [5], Brodersen, Craig [1].

Ecologically driven selection of nonstructural carbohydrates in oak trees and the implications for resilience in a changing world.

A major axis of diversity in plants involves leaves and their persistence in the face of changing environmental conditions throughout the year. Differences in leaf habit have consequences for carbon balance since the leaf is the primary site of photosynthesis, and nonstructural carbohydrates produced in the leaves can be transported throughout the plant and stored for later use. These reserves may serve as a resiliency mechanism to abiotic and biotic stress, however, the influence of leaf habit on nonstructural carbohydrate storage is not well understood. Using a comparative physiological framework and evolutionary model fitting, we explored if variation in nonstructural carbohydrate storage is explained by leaf habit. We measured sugar and starch concentrations in the leaves and stems of 51 Quercus (oak) species, representing multiple evolutions of different leaf habits (deciduous, brevideciduous, and evergreen) and growing in a common garden. The best fitting evolutionary models showed that deciduous oak species were evolving towards higher nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations than their relatives. Notably, this was observed for starch (the primary storage molecule) in the stem (a long term storage organ). Overall, this work provides insight into the evolutionary drivers of nonstructural carbohydrate storage and suggests that a deciduous strategy may be beneficial in a changing world.

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1 - Yale University, School of the Environment
2 - Yale University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
3 - Bates College, Department of Biology
4 - University of British Columbia, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
5 - USDA-ARS, University of California, Davis, Department of Viticulture and Enology

nonstructural carbohydrates
leaf habit
Comparative Phylogenetics.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECOPH1, Ecophysiology I
Location: /
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 10:00 AM(EDT)
Number: ECOPH1001
Abstract ID:1048
Candidate for Awards:None

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