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Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 10;7:40145. doi: 10.1038/srep40145.

Variation in short-term and long-term responses of photosynthesis and isoprenoid-mediated photoprotection to soil water availability in four Douglas-fir provenances.

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Department of Biology, Graduate Programs in Cell &Systems Biology and Ecology &Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON, Canada.
Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg, Wonnhaldestr. 4, 79100 Freiburg, Germany.
Institute of Bio and Geosciences IBG-2, Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich, Germany.
Chair of Tree Physiology, Institute of Forest Sciences, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Georges-Köhler Allee 53, 79110 Freiburg, Germany.
Institute for Landscape Biogeochemistry, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalderstr. 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany.
Institute of Ecology, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Scharnhorststr. 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany.
HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen, Faculty of Resource Management, Büsgenweg 1A, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.
Institute of Biology III, Faculty of Biology, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Schänzlestr. 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94550, United States of America.
Centre for Biosystems Analysis (ZBSA), Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Habsburgerstr. 49, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
Research Unit Environmental Simulation, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.
Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB), 14195 Berlin, Germany.
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zürcherstr. 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland.


For long-lived forest tree species, the understanding of intraspecific variation among populations and their response to water availability can reveal their ability to cope with and adapt to climate change. Dissipation of excess excitation energy, mediated by photoprotective isoprenoids, is an important defense mechanism against drought and high light when photosynthesis is hampered. We used 50-year-old Douglas-fir trees of four provenances at two common garden experiments to characterize provenance-specific variation in photosynthesis and photoprotective mechanisms mediated by essential and non-essential isoprenoids in response to soil water availability and solar radiation. All provenances revealed uniform photoprotective responses to high solar radiation, including increased de-epoxidation of photoprotective xanthophyll cycle pigments and enhanced emission of volatile monoterpenes. In contrast, we observed differences between provenances in response to drought, where provenances sustaining higher CO2 assimilation rates also revealed increased water-use efficiency, carotenoid-chlorophyll ratios, pools of xanthophyll cycle pigments, β-carotene and stored monoterpenes. Our results demonstrate that local adaptation to contrasting habitats affected chlorophyll-carotenoid ratios, pool sizes of photoprotective xanthophylls, β-carotene, and stored volatile isoprenoids. We conclude that intraspecific variation in isoprenoid-mediated photoprotective mechanisms contributes to the adaptive potential of Douglas-fir provenances to climate change.

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