A dynamical system perspective on plant hydraulic failure


Journal Article (Review)

Photosynthesis is governed by leaf water status that depends on the difference between the rates of transpiration and water supply from the soil and through the plant xylem. When transpiration increases compared to water supply, the leaf water potential reaches a more negative equilibrium, leading to water stress. Both high atmospheric vapor pressure deficit and low soil moisture increase the water demand while decreasing the supply due to lowered soil-to-root conductance and xylem cavitation. Therefore, dry conditions may eventually reduce the leaf water potential to the point of collapsing the plant hydraulic system. This "hydraulic failure" is shown to correspond to a fold bifurcation where the environmental parameters (vapor pressure deficit and soil moisture) trigger the loss of a physiologically sustainable equilibrium. Using a minimal plant hydraulic model, coordination among plant hydraulic traits is shown to result in increased resilience to environmental stresses, thereby impeding hydraulic failure unless hydraulic traits deteriorate due to prolonged water shortage or other damages. © 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Manzoni, S; Katul, G; Porporato, A

Published Date

  • January 1, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 5170 - 5183

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-7973

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0043-1397

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/2013WR015236

Citation Source

  • Scopus