AoB PLANTS, 2019 11, 6
Seedling responses to salinity of 26 Neotropical tree species.
A De Sedas, Y González, K Winter, O R Lopez.
Sea-level rise will result in increased salinization of coastal areas. Soil salinity is a major abiotic stress that reduces plant growth, yet tolerance to salinity varies across environmental conditions, habitats and species. To determine salinity tolerance of 26 com-mon tropical tree species from Panama, we measured growth, gas exchange and mortality of 3-month-old seedlings subjected to weekly irrigation treatments using five seawater solutions (0 % = control, 20, 40, 60 and 90 % V/V of seawater) for ~2 months. In general, species from coastal areas were more tolerant to in-creased seawater concentration than inland species. Coastal spe-cies such as Pithecellobium unguis-cati, Mora oleifera, Terminalia cattapa and Thespesia populnea maintained growth rates close to those of controls at 90 % seawater. In contrast, inland species such as Minquartia guainensis, Apeiba membranacea, Ormosia coccinea and Ochroma pyramidale showed strong reductions in growth rates and high mortality. Plant height and leaf production also differed greatly between the two groups of plants. Further-more, measurements of gas exchange parameters, i.e. stomatal conductance and maximum photosynthetic rate, were consistent with the contrasting growth responses of coastal and inland spe-cies. Our research reveals a great degree of variation in salinity tolerance among tropical tree species and demonstrates a close relationship between species habitat and the ability to thrive under increasing salt concentration in the soil, with coastal spe-cies being better adapted to withstand increased soil salinity than non-costal species.
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