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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (3): 443-452    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0003-1
Research Articles     
Safety-efficiency trade-offs in the cotton xylem: acclimatization to different soil textures
WANG Zhongyuan1,2, XIE Jiangbo1, LI Yan1*
1 State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China;
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Abstract  The acclimatization of plant xylem to altered environmental conditions has attracted considerable attention from researchers over several decades. Plants growing in natural environments must seek a balance between water uptake and the water loss of leaves from evaporation. Thus, the adaptation of xylem to different soil textures is important in maintaining plant water balance. In this study, we investigated the xylem changes of cotton (Gossypium herbaceum L.) xylem in sandy, clay and mixed soils. Results showed that soil texture had a significant effect on xylem vessel diameter and length of stems and roots. Compared with G. herbaceum growing in the clay soil, those plants growing in the sandy soil developed narrower and shorter xylem vessels in their roots, and had a higher percentage of narrow vessels in their stems. These changes resulted in a safer (i.e. less vulnerable to cavitation), but less-efficient water transport system when soil water availability was low, supporting the hydraulic safety versus efficiency trade-off hypothesis. Furthermore, in sandy and mixed soils, the root:shoot ratio of G. herbaceum increased twofold, which ensures the same efficiency of leaves. In summary, our finding indicates that the morphological plasticity of xylem structure in G. herbaceum has a major role in the acclimatization of this plant species to different soil textures.

Key wordsglacier      snow      meltwater runoff      climate change      hydrologic modeling     
Received: 02 August 2015      Published: 01 June 2016

The International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China (2010DFA92720)
The Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX2-YW-T09)

Corresponding Authors: LI Yan     E-mail:
Cite this article:

WANG Zhongyuan, XIE Jiangbo, LI Yan. Safety-efficiency trade-offs in the cotton xylem: acclimatization to different soil textures. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(3): 443-452.

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