Drought strongly influences plant phenology, growth and mortality in tropical forests, thereby shaping plant performance, population dynamics and community structure (Bunker & Carson 2005, Condit et al. 1995). Microbial symbionts of plants profoundly influence host water relations (Lösch & Gansert 2002), but are rarely considered in studies of tropical plant physiology. In particular, plant-fungus associations, which are ubiquitous in plant communities and especially common in tropical forests, play important and varied roles in plant water status. Fungal pathogens associated with roots, vascular tissue and foliage may interfere with water uptake and transport, increase rates of foliar transpiration, and induce xylem embolism and tissue death (Agrios 1997). In contrast, rhizosphere mutualists such as ecto- and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi may benefit hosts by increasing surface area for water uptake, enhancing stomatal regulation of water loss, and increasing root hydraulic conductivity (Auge 2001, Lösch & Gansert 2002).
- Minimum leaf conductance
- Theobroma cacao
- Water relations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics