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Title: Evidence of nutrient translocation in response to smoke exposure by the East African ant acacia, Vachellia drepanolobium.
Authors: Yekwayo, Inam.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Fire.;Kenya.;Root-shoot ratio.;Savanna.;Transport.;Volatile.
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Wiley
Abstract: Fire is a major selective force on arid grassland communities, favoring traits such as the smoke-induced seed germination response seen in a wide variety of plant species. However, little is known about the relevance of smoke as a cue for plants beyond the seedling stage. We exposed a fire-adapted savanna tree, Vachellia (=Acacia) drepanolobium, to smoke and compared nutrient concentrations in leaf and root tissues to unexposed controls. Experiments were performed on three age cohorts: 2-year-old, 9-month-old, and 3-month-old plants. For the 2-year-old plants exposed to smoke, carbon and nitrogen concentrations were lower in the leaves and higher in the roots than controls. Less pronounced trends were found for boron and magnesium. In contrast, smoke-exposed 3-month-old plants had lower root nitrogen concentrations than controls. No significant differences were found in the 9-month-old plants, and no significant shifts in other nutrient concentrations were observed between plant tissues for any of the three age cohorts. Synthesis: Our findings are consistent with smoke-induced translocation of nutrients from leaves to roots in 2-year-old V. drepanolobium. This could represent a novel form of fire adaptation, with variation over the course of plant development. The translocation differences between age cohorts highlight the need to investigate smoke response in older plants of other species. Accounting for this adaptation could better inform our understanding of savanna community structure and nutrient flows under fire regimes altered by anthropogenic land use and climate change.
Description: Please note that only UMP researchers are shown in the metadata. To access the co-authors, please view the full text.
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.8244
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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