Carbon and nutrient allocation in Elymus farctus seedlings after burial with sand

Harris, D. and Davy, A. J. ORCID: (1988) Carbon and nutrient allocation in Elymus farctus seedlings after burial with sand. Annals of Botany, 61 (2). pp. 147-157. ISSN 1095-8290

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We report physiological aspects of the response of seedlings of the strandline grass Elymus farctus to short-term burial with sand. Seedlings were buried at the two-leaf stage for one week and compared with non-buried controls - before, during and after burial. Photosynthetic CO2 uptake was measured by infrared gas analysis and carbon translocation from the youngest expanded leaf was monitored after exposure to 14CO2. The concentrations of water-soluble carbohydrate, and total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in component organs were determined. Net photosynthetic capacity was almost completely inhibited by 5 d of burial. However, plants uncovered after 7 d of burial recovered full photosynthetic competence within 24 h. There was a sharp, sustained depression in the water-soluble carbohydrate concentration of the roots and stems after burial, whereas leaves 1–3 had much higher concentrations than non-buried plants for up to 20 d after uncovering. Burial virtually suppressed the translocation of 14C to stem, roots and expanding leaves, and this effect persisted even after full recovery of net photosynthesis. The proportional allocation of total N, P and K to leaves was increased after burial, mainly at the expense of the roots. Changes both in nutrient concentration and in the relative masses of organs contributed to this effect. The apparent reversal of the normal source-sink relationships for carbohydrate between photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic organs, and the differential allocation of inorganic nutrients, may contribute to the maintenance of photosynthetic capacity during burial. The rapid recovery of net photosynthesis after re-exposure suggests that these responses may be advantageous for survival of E. farctus seedlings in the early stages of growth in a physically unstable and unpredictable environment.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Depositing User: Users 2731 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2011 11:57
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 14:30
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aob.a087537

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