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MEA

MEA (Impact of climate changes on tree winter survival and geographical distribution)

Leader : Dr. André LACOINTE

Staff

The project of 'BioDHiv' team aims to assess the impact of current climate changes on survival capacities of trees. According to current climate models, these changes will result in (i) more severe temperature and water stresses, and (ii) milder average winter temperatures although frost occurrences would remain unchanged. Such effects are likely to affect: (1) frost susceptibility; (2) winter and spring rehydration capacities, in relation to lower rate of xylem embolism repair. 1. Frost sensitivity: BioDHiv researchers have previously shown the relationship between living cells capacity to resist freezing temperatures and tissue carbon status. They are now investigating the effect of growth conditions and fall temperatures on that carbon status - mainly reserves - on cold resistance in a wide range of species, combining experimental and modeling approaches to integrated tree function. Sensitivity to winter embolism, another major effect of frost, is also studied in several broadleaved and evergreen species, in relation to xylem anatomy (vessel lumen and wall pit diameters). Regarding spring frost vulnerability, researchers are developing an ecophysiological model of bud breaking date as depending on winter temperature dynamics. 2. Winter embolism repair by xylem pressurization: After previous investigations on pressurization by release of reserve-mobilized sugars into xylem vessels, BioDHiv researchers are now focusing on pressurization by release of mineral (mainly N-) solutes, in relation to mineral nutrition. A major issue is the quantitative response of solute release to temperature and other biophysical factors. Experimental approach at the whole plant or organ level is complemented with (i) biophysical modeling of coupled water and solute fluxes and (ii) an integrative biology approach to specific cell functions that our knowledge suggests may be primarily involved. Those biochemical and molecular studies are focused mainly on aquaporins, on sugar and nitrogen carriers, and on key enzymes involved in carbon reserve mobilization and energy-related metabolism. BioDHiv investigations have three major applied objectives: (i) design physiological status diagnosis tests to help adapt orchard management to changing, new climate conditions; (ii) yield screening criteria for species or cultivars best suitable to the new conditions; (iii) predict changes in geographical distribution areas of natural or cultivated species.

 

Presentation of MEA methods