Genetic variation in ecophysiological and survival responses to drought in two native grasses

Koeleria macrantha and Elymus elymoides

Huarong Zhang, Laura E. Dewald, Thomas E Kolb, Dan E. Koepke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Genetic variation in ecophysiological and survival responses to drought was studied in 2 northern Arizona native grass species, Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Schult, (prairie Junegrass) and Elymus elymoides (Raf.) Swezey. ssp. elymoides (squirreltail). Low- and high-elevation populations of each species were compared in a greenhouse common garden experiment that included simulated drought. Leaf gas-exchange characteristics were significantly affected by simulated drought and often by population elevation, but gas-exchange responses to drought were similar for high- and low-elevation populations. Compared to high-elevation populations, low-elevation populations of both species had higher net photosynthetic rate and predawn water potential, and for E. elymoides had higher stomatal conductance. Leaf-level water-use efficiency did not differ between populations for either species. Populations also differed significantly in leaf morphological characteristics related to water use. Compared to high-elevation populations, low-elevation populations of both species had smaller leaves. Low-elevation populations of both species survived aboveground longer than high-elevation populations during drought, with a larger difference in K. macrantha than in E. elymoides. These results suggest strong selection for drought adaptation and water use along an elevational and water-availability gradient in native grasses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalWestern North American Naturalist
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Fingerprint

Elymus elymoides
Koeleria
genetic variation
drought
grass
grasses
gas exchange
water use
leaves
water
stomatal conductance
water use efficiency
water availability
prairies
water potential
prairie
gardens
garden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Genetic variation in ecophysiological and survival responses to drought in two native grasses : Koeleria macrantha and Elymus elymoides. / Zhang, Huarong; Dewald, Laura E.; Kolb, Thomas E; Koepke, Dan E.

In: Western North American Naturalist, Vol. 71, No. 1, 04.2011, p. 25-32.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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