Genders in Juniperus thurifera have different functional responses to variations in nutrient availability
Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2011 New Phytologist Trust
Volume 193, Issue 3, pages 705–712, February 2012
How to Cite
Montesinos, D., Villar-Salvador, P., García-Fayos, P. and Verdú, M. (2012), Genders in Juniperus thurifera have different functional responses to variations in nutrient availability. New Phytologist, 193: 705–712. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03982.x
- Issue published online: 11 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011
- Received: 9 September 2011, Accepted: 14 October 2011
- functional trade-offs;
- physiological compensation mechanisms;
- reproductive investment;
- •Differences in reproductive investment can trigger asymmetric, context-dependent, functional strategies between genders in dioecious species. However, little is known about the gender responses of dioecious species to nutrient availability.
- •We experimentally fertirrigated a set of male and female Juniperus thurifera trees monthly for 2 yr. Water potential, photosynthesis rate and stomatal conductance were measured monthly for 2 yr, while shoot nitrogen (N) concentration, carbon isotopic composition (δ13C), branch growth, trunk radial growth and reproductive investment per branch were measured yearly.
- •Control males had lower gas exchange rates and radial growth but greater reproductive investment and higher water use efficiency (WUE; as inferred from more positive δ13C values) than females. Fertirrigation did not affect water potential or WUE but genders responded differently to increased nutrient availability. The two genders similarly increased shoot N concentration when fertilized. The increase in shoot N was associated with increased photosynthesis in males but not in females, which presented consistently high photosynthetic rates across treatments.
- •Our results suggest that genders invest N surplus in different functions, with females presenting a long-term strategy by increasing N storage to compensate for massive reproductive masting events, while males seem to be more reactive to current nutrient availability, promoting gas-exchange capacity.