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Fruit production in three masting tree species does not rely on stored carbon reserves

Hoch, Günter and Siegwolf, R. T. W. and Keel, S. G. and Körner, Christian and Han, Q. M.. (2013) Fruit production in three masting tree species does not rely on stored carbon reserves. Oecologia, Vol. 171, H. 3. pp. 653-662.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6124449

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Abstract

Fruiting is typically considered to massively burden the seasonal carbon budget of trees. The cost of reproduction has therefore been suggested as a proximate factor explaining observed mast-fruiting patterns. Here, we used a large-scale, continuous 13C labeling of mature, deciduous trees in a temperate Swiss forest to investigate to what extent fruit formation in three species with masting reproduction behavior (Carpinus betulus, Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea) relies on the import of stored carbon reserves. Using a free-air CO2 enrichment system, we exposed trees to 13C-depleted CO2 during 8 consecutive years. By the end of this experiment, carbon reserve pools had significantly lower d13C values compared to control trees. d13C analysis of new biomass during the first season after termination of the CO2 enrichment allowed us to distinguish the sources of built-in carbon (old carbon reserves vs. current assimilates). Flowers and expandingleaves carried a significant 13C label from old carbon stores. In contrast, fruits and vegetative infructescence tissues were exclusively produced from current, unlabeled photoassimilates in all three species, including F. sylvatica, which had a strong masting season. Analyses of d13C in purified starch from xylem of fruit-bearing shoots revealed a complete turn-over of starch during the season, likely due to its usage for bud break. This study is the first to directly demonstrate that fruiting is independent from old carbon reserves in masting trees, with significant implications for mechanistic models that explain mast seeding.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Körner, Christian and Hoch, Günter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0029-8549
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:12 Sep 2014 08:02
Deposited On:24 May 2013 09:18

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