Seasonal Changes in Leaf Tissue Rehydration of One Annual and Two Perennial Grass Forage Species Induced by Bioclimate
Bioclimate signifies the continuous interplay between plants and climate factors (primarily drought) and has a direct impact on the water relations and the duration of the rehydration process in water stressed plants. To explore the association between bioclimate and water physiology of forage species in semi-arid Mediterranean grasslands, we determined the seasonal variation in leaf water potential, turgid weight and relative water content in wild growing Dactylis glomerata L., Bromus inermis Leyss (perennial) and Bromus sterilis L. (annual) during the growing season. The study was conducted at the farm of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The results of the current study reveal that B. sterilis maintained high levels of water potential most probably by accelerating its biological cycle and decreasing water content because it fails to sustain turgidity. Dactylis glomerata and B. inermis presented even higher water contents than B. sterilis for the same water potential. Dactylis glomerata exhibited substantially higher water potential and content than B. inermis by keeping the rehydration duration stable. The extensive creeping rhizome seems to allow B. inermis to sustain high values of water potential and content possibly ensuring turgidity. Regardless of the grass species the duration of rehydration ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 hours throughout the growing season. Our findings demonstrate that (a) D. glomerata and B. inermis are better adapted to Mediterranean semiarid conditions than B. sterilis and (b) turgid weight in Mediterranean forage species can safely be determined after a rehydration period of 3.5 hours.
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