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      Wood Cellular Dendroclimatology: Testing New Proxies in Great Basin Bristlecone Pine

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          Abstract

          Dendroclimatic proxies can be generated from the analysis of wood cellular structures, allowing for a more complete understanding of the physiological mechanisms that control the climatic response of tree species. Century-long (1870–2013) time series of anatomical parameters were developed for Great Basin bristlecone pine ( Pinus longaeva D.K. Bailey) by capturing strongly contrasted microscopic images through a Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope. Environmental information embedded in wood anatomical series was analyzed in comparison with ring-width series using measures of empirical signal strength. Response functions were calculated against monthly climatic variables to evaluate climate sensitivity of cellular features (e.g., lumen area; lumen diameter) for the period 1950–2013. Calibration-verification tests were used to determine the potential to generate long climate reconstructions from these anatomical proxies. A total of eight tree-ring parameters (two ring-width and six chronologies of xylem anatomical parameters) were analyzed. Synchronous variability among samples varied among tree-ring parameters, usually decreasing from ring-width to anatomical features. Cellular parameters linked to plant hydraulic performance (e.g., tracheid lumen area and radial lumen diameter) showed empirical signal strength similar to ring-width series, while noise was predominant in chronologies of lumen tangential width and cell wall thickness. Climatic signals were different between anatomical and ring-width chronologies, revealing a positive and temporally stable correlation of tracheid size (i.e., lumen and cell diameter) with monthly (i.e., March) and seasonal precipitation. In particular, tracheid lumen diameter emerged as a reliable moisture indicator and was then used to reconstruct total March–August precipitation from 1870 to 2013. Wood anatomy holds great potential to refine and expand dendroclimatic records by allowing estimates of plant physiological adaptations to external stressors. Integrating xylem cellular features with ring-width chronologies can widen our understanding of past climatic variability (including annual extreme events) and improve the evaluation of long-term plant response to drought, especially in connection with future warming scenarios.

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          On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes

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            How do trees die? A test of the hydraulic failure and carbon starvation hypotheses

            Despite decades of research on plant drought tolerance, the physiological mechanisms by which trees succumb to drought are still under debate. We report results from an experiment designed to separate and test the current leading hypotheses of tree mortality. We show that piñon pine (Pinus edulis) trees can die of both hydraulic failure and carbon starvation, and that during drought, the loss of conductivity and carbohydrate reserves can also co-occur. Hydraulic constraints on plant carbohydrate use determined survival time: turgor loss in the phloem limited access to carbohydrate reserves, but hydraulic control of respiration prolonged survival. Our data also demonstrate that hydraulic failure may be associated with loss of adequate tissue carbohydrate content required for osmoregulation, which then promotes failure to maintain hydraulic integrity.
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              Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth to temperature at high northern latitudes

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-462X
                25 October 2016
                2016
                : 7
                Affiliations
                1DendroLab, University of Nevada, Reno NV, USA
                2GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam, Germany
                3Institute of Geography, Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jian-Guo Huang, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

                Reviewed by: Keyan Fang, Fujian Normal University, China; Liang Hanxue, South China Institute of Botany, China

                *Correspondence: Emanuele Ziaco, eziaco@ 123456unr.edu

                This article was submitted to Functional Plant Ecology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Article
                10.3389/fpls.2016.01602
                5078726
                a72dbfed-9951-4345-921a-c54e55e847fa
                Copyright © 2016 Ziaco, Biondi and Heinrich.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 3, Equations: 1, References: 92, Pages: 13, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: National Science Foundation 10.13039/100000001
                Award ID: AGS-P2C2-1401381, AGS-P2C2-1502379
                Categories
                Plant Science
                Original Research

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