Local hydrological gradients structure high intraspecific variability in plant hydraulic traits in two dominant central Amazonian tree species

Maquelle N. Garcia, Jia Hu, Tomas F. Domingues, Peter Groenendijk, Rafael S. Oliveira, Flavia R.C. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Addressing the intraspecific variability of functional traits helps understand how climate change might influence the distribution of organismal traits across environments, but this is notably understudied in the Amazon, especially for plant hydraulic traits commonly used to project drought responses. We quantified the intraspecific trait variability of leaf mass per area, wood density, and xylem embolism resistance for two dominant central Amazonian tree species, along gradients of water and light availability, while accounting for tree age and height. Intraspecific variability in hydraulic traits was high, with within-species variability comparable to the whole-community variation. Hydraulic trait variation was modulated mostly by the hydrological environment, with higher embolism resistance of trees growing on deep-water-table plateaus compared with shallow-water-table valleys. Intraspecific variability of leaf mass per area and wood density was mostly modulated by intrinsic factors and light. The different environmental and intrinsic drivers of variation among and within individuals lead to an uncoupled coordination among carbon acquisition/conservation and water-use traits. Our findings suggest multivariate ecological strategies driving tropical tree distributions even within species, and reflect differential within-population sensitivities along environmental gradients. Therefore, intraspecific trait variability must be considered for accurate predictions of the responses of tropical forests to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-952
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Volume73
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Keywords

  • Central Amazon
  • environmental gradients
  • hydraulic
  • hydrological environment
  • light environment
  • niche partitioning
  • tree rings
  • wood traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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