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Seasonal temperature and precipitation regimes drive variation in the wood of oak species (Quercus) along a climatic gradient in western Mexico

In: IAWA Journal
Authors:
Maribel Arenas-Navarro Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, Unidad de Posgrado, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de Mexico CP 04510, Mexico
Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, Morelia, Michoacán CP 58190, Mexico

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Ken Oyama Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, Morelia, Michoacán CP 58190, Mexico

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Felipe García-Oliva Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad (IIES), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, Morelia, Michoacán CP 58190, Mexico

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Andrés Torres-Miranda Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, Morelia, Michoacán CP 58190, Mexico

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Teresa Terrazas Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, Ciudad de Mexico CP 04510, Mexico

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7749-5126
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Summary

To achieve optimal balance among wood’s support, storage, and transport functions, tree species present adaptive variation in wood anatomical traits. Oaks (Quercus) are woody plants that are dominant in many ecosystems, possess wide variation in wood traits, and can tolerate water stress in diverse habitats. Mountain regions contain steep climatic gradients that exert strong environmental pressures on wood traits. The aims of this study were: (1) to quantify the anatomical variation in 21 oak species distributed along an environmental gradient and (2) to analyze the interspecific variation among the studied species. Fibres and parenchyma fractions were the most abundant cell types. We found a trade-off between total fibre fraction and total parenchyma fraction modulated by the precipitation during the warmest quarter in which oak species in drier areas invested more in support cells. The 21 oak species studied showed vasicentric tracheids, which could be essential to compensate for the transport system in drier areas. Wood density was negatively correlated with the axial parenchyma fraction and fibre lumen width. Oak species have high interspecific variation in the total vessel fraction and vessel diameter. Anatomical variation in oak species along a climatic gradient showed a broad continuum of fibre characteristics from wide to narrow wall and lumen, abundant to scarce parenchyma, and wide to narrow vessels. These variations imply a diversification of ecological strategies within the genus that includes the vascular design of the stem to define the tolerance and competitiveness of the oak species.

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