The coordination of leaf hydraulic-related traits with leaf size is influenced by environmental conditions and especially by VPD. Water and gas flows are guided by leaf anatomical and physiological traits, whose plasticity is crucial for plants to face environmental changes. Only a few studies have analysed how variations in VPD levels influence stomatal and vein development and their correlation with leaf size, reporting contrasting results. Thus, we applied microscopy techniques to evaluate the effect of low and high VPDs on the development of stomata and veins, also analysing leaf functional traits. We hypothesized that leaves under high VPD with a modified balance between veins and stomata face higher transpiration. We also explored the variability of stomata and vein density across the leaf lamina. From the results, it was evident that under both VPDs, plants maintained a coordinated development of stomata and veins, with a higher density at low VPD. Moreover, more stomata but fewer veins developed in the parts of the lettuce head exposed to light, suggesting that their differentiation during leaf expansion is strictly dependent on the microclimatic conditions. Knowing the plasticity of hydraulic-related morpho-functional traits and its intra-leaf variability is timely for their impact on water and gas fluxes, thus helping to evaluate the impact of environmental-driven anatomical variations on productivity of natural ecosystems and crops, in a climate change scenario.

Vapour Pressure Deficit (VPD) Drives the Balance of Hydraulic-Related Anatomical Traits in Lettuce Leaves

Amitrano C.
;
Rouphael Y.;De Pascale S.;De Micco V.
2022

Abstract

The coordination of leaf hydraulic-related traits with leaf size is influenced by environmental conditions and especially by VPD. Water and gas flows are guided by leaf anatomical and physiological traits, whose plasticity is crucial for plants to face environmental changes. Only a few studies have analysed how variations in VPD levels influence stomatal and vein development and their correlation with leaf size, reporting contrasting results. Thus, we applied microscopy techniques to evaluate the effect of low and high VPDs on the development of stomata and veins, also analysing leaf functional traits. We hypothesized that leaves under high VPD with a modified balance between veins and stomata face higher transpiration. We also explored the variability of stomata and vein density across the leaf lamina. From the results, it was evident that under both VPDs, plants maintained a coordinated development of stomata and veins, with a higher density at low VPD. Moreover, more stomata but fewer veins developed in the parts of the lettuce head exposed to light, suggesting that their differentiation during leaf expansion is strictly dependent on the microclimatic conditions. Knowing the plasticity of hydraulic-related morpho-functional traits and its intra-leaf variability is timely for their impact on water and gas fluxes, thus helping to evaluate the impact of environmental-driven anatomical variations on productivity of natural ecosystems and crops, in a climate change scenario.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/895717
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