Variation in the performance and thermostability of photosystem II in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) provenances is influenced more by acclimation than by adaptation
The assisted migration of resistant seeds and seedlings may be a key to mitigating the effects of climate change on the productivity and composition of forest ecosystems. These efforts require an understanding of the intraspecific variability in the response of trees to extreme weather events such as heat waves. In this study, we assessed the geographical patterns of photosystem II (PSII) performance and thermostability in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and whether intraspecific differences are associated with climate of origin. Two provenance trials with starkly contrasting climates were used for this study. Leaves were sampled both before and after natural heat stress exposure. Rapid chlorophyll fluorescence kinetics was used to evaluate PSII performance and PSII thermostability after simulated heat stress. The performance of PSII at 30 °C, which is still considered a non-damaging temperature, was generally slightly better at the warmer location than at the colder location. The populations originating closer to the Slovenian refugium, as well as those growing closer to their site of origin, showed better performance of PSII but not greater thermostability. The effect of simulated heat stress was much stronger in the colder plots compared to the warmer plots, but only for previously stressed trees. Likewise, we found indicators of geographical patterns of thermotolerance as well as relationships between thermotolerance and climate of origin mostly for trees exposed to natural heat. While the origin of provenances partly explained the variation among provenances, acclimation driven by climate played a major role in the response to heat stress. In beech, PSII seems to have a potential for coping with high temperature.
Kurjak, D; Konôpková, A; Kmeť, J; Macková, M; Frýdl, J; Živčák, M; Palmroth, S; Ditmarová, Ľ; Gömöry, D
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