Arabidopsis growth under prolonged high temperature and water deficit: independent or interactive effects?

Plant, Cell & Environment 2012

Denis Vile, Marjorie Pervent, Michaël Belluau, François Vasseur, Justine Bresson, Bertrand Muller, Christine Granier, Thierry Simonneau

High temperature (HT) and water deficit (WD) are frequent environmental constraints restricting plant growth and productivity. These stresses often occur simultaneously in the field, but little is known about their combined impacts on plant growth, development and physiology. We evaluated the responses of 10 Arabidopsis thaliana natural accessions to prolonged elevated air temperature (30 °C) and soil WD applied separately or in combination. Plant growth was significantly reduced under both stresses and their combination was even more detrimental to plant performance. The effects of the two stresses were globally additive, but some traits responded specifically to one but not the other stress. Root allocation increased in response to WD, while reproductive allocation, hyponasty and specific leaf area increased under HT. All the traits that varied in response to combined stresses also responded to at least one of them. Tolerance to WD was higher in small‐sized accessions under control temperature and HT and in accessions with high biomass allocation to root under control conditions. Accessions that originate from sites with higher temperature have less stomatal density and allocate less biomass to the roots when cultivated under HT. Independence and interaction between stresses as well as the relationships between traits and stress responses are discussed.

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