Resin duct size and density as ecophysiological traits in fire scars of Pseudotsuga menziesii and Larix occidentalis

Estelle Arbellay, Markus Stoffel, Elaine K. Sutherland, Kevin T. Smith, Donald A. Falk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Aims Resin ducts (RDs) are features present in most conifer species as defence structures against pests and pathogens; however, little is known about RD expression in trees following fire injury. This study investigates changes in RD size and density in fire scars of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and western larch (Larix occidentalis) as a means to evaluate the ecophysiological significance of traumatic resinosis for tree defence and survival. Methods Transverse and tangential microsections were prepared for light microscopy and image analysis in order to analyse axial and radial RDs, respectively. Epithelial cells of RDs and fusiform rays associated with radial RDs were also examined. RDs were compared between normal xylem and wound xylem at four different section heights along the fire-injured stem. Key Results Following fire injury, P. menziesii axial RDs narrowed by 38-43% in the first year after injury, and the magnitude of this change increased with stem height. Larix occidentalis axial RDs widened by 46-50% in the second year after injury. Radial RDs were of equivalent size in P. menziesii, but widened by 162-214% in L. occidentalis. Fusiform rays were larger following fire injury, by 4-14% in P. menziesii and by 23-38% in L. occidentalis. Furthermore, axial RD density increased in both species due to the formation of tangential rows of traumatic RDs, especially in the first and second years after injury. However, radial RD density did not change significantly. Conclusions These results highlight traumatic resinosis as a species-specific response. Pseudotsuga menziesii produce RDs of equivalent or reduced size, whereas L. occidentalis produce wider RDs in both the axial and radial duct system, thereby increasing resin biosynthesis and accumulation within the whole tree. Larix occidentalis thus appears to allocate more energy to defence than P. menziesii.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-980
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of botany
Volume114
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

Keywords

  • Conifer
  • Douglas fir
  • Ecophysiology
  • Fire scar
  • Larix occidentalis
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Resin duct
  • Tree defence
  • Western larch
  • Wood anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Resin duct size and density as ecophysiological traits in fire scars of Pseudotsuga menziesii and Larix occidentalis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this