Oxygen dynamics during submergence in the halophytic stem succulent Halosarcia pergranulata

Authors

  • O. PEDERSEN,

    1. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia,
    2. Freshwater Biological Laboratory, Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Helsingørsgade 51, DK-3400 Hillerød, Denmark and
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  • H. VOS,

    1. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia,
    2. Plant Ecophysiology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Sorbonnelaan 16, 3584 CA, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • T. D. COLMER

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia,
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T. D. Colmer. Fax: +61 86488 1108; e-mail: tdcolmer@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

ABSTRACT

This study elucidated O2 dynamics in shoots and roots of submerged Halosarcia pergranulata (Salicornioideae), a perennial halophytic stem succulent that grows on flood-prone mudflats of salt lakes. Oxygen within shoots and roots was measured using microelectrodes, for plants when waterlogged or completely submerged, with shoots in light or in darkness, in a controlled environment. Net photosynthesis (PN) when underwater, at a range of dissolved CO2 concentrations, was measured by monitoring O2 production rates by excised stems. The bulky nature and apparently low volume of gas-filled spaces of the succulent stems resulted in relatively high radial resistance to gas diffusion. At ambient CO2, quasi-steady state rates of PN by excised succulent stems were estimated to be close to zero; nevertheless, in intact plants, underwater photosynthesis provided O2 to tissues and led to radial O2 loss (ROL) from the roots, at least during the first several hours (the time period measured) after submergence or when light periods followed darkness. The influence of light on tissue O2 dynamics was confirmed in an experiment on a submerged plant in a salt lake in south-western Australia. In the late afternoon, partial pressure of O2 (pO2) in the succulent stem was 23.2 kPa (i.e. ∼10% above that in the air), while in the roots, it was 6.2–9.8 kPa. Upon sunset, the pO2 in the succulent stems declined within 1 h to below detection, but then showed some fluctuations with the pO2 increasing to at most 2.5 kPa during the night. At night, pO2 in the roots remained higher than in the succulent stems, especially for a root with the basal portion in the floodwater. At sunrise, the pO2 increased in the succulent stems within minutes. In the roots, changes in the pO2 lagged behind those in the succulent stems. In summary, photosynthesis in stems of submerged plants increased the pO2 in the shoots and roots so that tissues experience diurnal changes in the pO2, but O2 from the H2O column also entered submerged plants.

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