U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Tree Hydraulic Acclimation Partially Mitigates Effects of Warming and Drought
Published: June 20, 2017
Posted: November 21, 2017

Tree water dynamics under warming and drying conditions.

The Science 
A novel tree manipulation study shows the roles of hydraulic acclimation to both precipitation and temperature in two tree species and unravels their effects.

The Impact
Analysis of a vast number of tree-water dynamics observations shows juniper and piñon trees have different physiological responses to heat and drought stress including varying ability to acclimate.  Our new framework allows separation of temperature and precipitation responses in these species, and provides a path forward for better model representations of how trees will function within the evolving Earth system.

Summary
Previous findings suggested warming superimposed on drought would exacerbate drought stress and increase mortality. However, during this study’s five-year period of warmer and much drier conditions, no mortality was observed. The tree stomata adjusted to heat and drought even when other functions were drastically impaired by drought—stomata acclimation prevented tree death from the additive effects of warming and drying. Also, previous work had revealed that juniper trees can be highly resistant to drought, keeping their stomata open, while piñon shut down all functions that kept them alive. However, in this study, juniper was unable to significantly acclimate and showed strong reductions in function. Piñon, which suffered when exposed to drought, acclimated when warming was the only stressor. Piñon retained hydrological functions including sap production to repel invaders.

Contacts
(BER PM)

Daniel Stover
SC-23.1
Daniel.Stover@science.doe.gov (301-903-0289)

Dorothy Koch
SC-23.1
dorothy.koch@science.doe.gov (301-903-0105)

Renu Joseph SC-23.1
renu.joseph@science.doe.gov (301-903-9237)

(PI Contact)
Charlotte Grossiord
MS J495
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM, 87545
505 665 2450

Funding
The Los Alamos Survival-Mortality (SUMO) Experiment was funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research.

Publications
Grossiord, et al. 2017. “Tree water dynamics in a drying and warming world,” Plant, Cell & Environment 40, 1861-1873. DOI: 10.1111/pce.12991.

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)