Author(s): Easlon HM, Richards JH
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Abstract Wild tomatoes occur in habitats from the extremely dry Atacama Desert to moist areas in the Andean highlands, which may have resulted in adaptation of populations or species to differences in soil moisture availability. However, when two accessions representing extremes in habitat water availability from each of the five self-compatible species were grown in a common garden, we observed no differences in leaf physiological responses to soil drought within or between species. All five species had drought avoidance characteristics with the same threshold soil moisture availability for decline of assimilation, stomatal conductance, and leaf water potential (Ψ(l)) in response to slowly decreasing soil moisture. After rewatering, all species rapidly recovered to near predrought Ψ(l), but bulk leaf solute potential after recovery did not indicate any osmotic adjustment. The lack of variation in shoot physiological traits during soil drought is unexpected as water deficit is commonly thought to have imposed selective pressure in the evolution of plant physiology. However, species did differ in assimilation under nonstressed conditions, which may contribute to differential soil water conservation and growth or survival during drought.
This article was published in Am J Bot
and referenced in Advances in Crop Science and Technology