Ecological relevance of minimum seasonal water potentials

Authors

  • R. Bhaskar,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
    2. Present address: Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
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  • D.D. Ackerly

    1. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
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  • Edited by V. Hurry

e-mail: radika@gmail.com

Abstract

The minimum seasonal water potential a plant experiences, ψmin, provides an important measure of plant water status, as it reflects the maximum water deficit that leaves and xylem must tolerate to maintain physiological activity. ψmin also acts as a selective force on xylem structure which, in turn, generates correlations between ψmin and numerous hydraulic traits. This review focuses on the ecological relevance of ψmin as a reflection of overall plant hydraulic strategy. The focus is on plant functional strategies with respect to soil drought, but we conclude with preliminary findings on the role of atmospheric drought.

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