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Allometric covariation of xylem and stomata across diverse woody seedlings
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  • Mengying Zhong,
  • Bruno E.L. Cerabolini,
  • Pilar Castro-Diez,
  • Jean-Philippe Puyravaud,
  • Johannes Cornelissen
Mengying Zhong
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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Bruno E.L. Cerabolini
University of Insubria
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Pilar Castro-Diez
Universidad de Alcalá
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Jean-Philippe Puyravaud
Sigur Nature Trust
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Johannes Cornelissen
VU University
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Leaf stomatal density is known to covary with leaf vein density. However, the functional underpinning of this relation, and how it scales to whole-plant water transport anatomy, is still unresolved. We hypothesized that the balance of water exchange between the vapour phase (in stomata) and liquid phase (in vessels) depends on the consistent scaling between the summed stomatal areas and xylem cross-sectional areas, both at the whole-plant and single-leaf level. This predicted size-covariation should be driven by the covariation of numbers of stomata and terminal vessels. We examined the relationships of stomatal traits and xylem anatomical traits from the entire plant to individual leaves across seedlings of 53 European woody angiosperm species. There was strong and convergent scaling between total stomatal area and stem xylem area per plant and between leaf total stomatal area and midvein xylem area per leaf across all the species, irrespective of variation in leaf habit, growth-form or relative growth rate (RGR). Moreover, strong scaling was found between stomatal number and terminal vessel number while not in their respective average areas. Our findings have broad implications for integrating xylem architecture and stomatal distribution, and deepen our understanding of the design rules of plants’ water transport network.

Peer review status:Published

18 May 2020Submitted to Plant, Cell & Environment
19 May 2020Assigned to Editor
19 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
19 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
08 Jun 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
Published in Plant, Cell & Environment. 16 Jun 2020. 10.1111/pce.13826