High Recovery from Either Waterlogging or Drought Overrides Any Beneficial Acclimation of Chloris gayana Facing a Subsequent Round of Stress

Federico P.O. Mollard, Carla E. Di Bella, María B. Loguzzo, Agustín A. Grimoldi, Gustavo G. Striker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate models predict that plants will face extreme fluctuations in water availability in future global change scenarios. Then, forage production will be more frequently subjected to the destabilizing pressure of sequentially occurring waterlogging and drought events. While the isolated effects of drought (D) and waterlogging (WL) are well characterized, little is known about the consequences when both stresses occur sequentially. We hypothesized that plants sequentially subjected to opposite water scenarios (D followed by WL or vice versa) are less stress tolerant than plants experiencing repetitions of the same type of water stress (i.e., D + D or WL + WL) due to contrasting acclimation and allocation to either shoots (WL) or roots (D). Chloris gayana (a tropical forage grass capable of tolerating either D and WL) plants were randomly assigned to nine treatments (a sequence of two stress rounds—WL or D—each followed by a recovery phase at field capacity). Relative growth rates and allometric responses were measured after each stress round and recovery period. In the first round of stress, both WL and D reduced plant RGR similarly, despite their allocation being opposite—prioritizing shoots or roots under WL and D, respectively. The high recovery displayed after either WL or D overrode any possible acclimation of the plants facing a second round of water stress. We conclude that the tolerance of C. gayana to sequential water stress (either for WL or D) is likely to depend more heavily on its recovery ability than on its previous adjustment to any stress scenario that may evoke memory responses. Knowledge like this could help improve forage grass breeding and the selection of cultivars for poorly drained soils subject to sequential stress events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2699
JournalPlants
Volume11
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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