Biology Professor, Peter Melcher co-authors a new publication in the journal New Phytologist.


Contributed by Peter Melcher

The focus of the study was to understand the coordination between the various signalling mechanisms involved in regulating stomata in plants.

This publication was the result of several years of collaboration between a Ph.D. student and faculty at Cornell University, faculty at the USDA and faculty and students at Ithaca College. 

To view the paper, follow the link


Signal coordination in response to changes in water availability remains unclear, as does the role of embolism events in signaling drought stress.   Sunflowers were exposed to two drought treatments of varying intensity while simultaneously monitoring changes in stomatal conductance, acoustic emissions (AE), turgor pressure, surface‐level electrical potential, organ‐level water potential and leaf abscisic acid (ABA) concentration. Leaf, stem and root xylem vulnerability to embolism were measured with the single vessel injection technique.   In both drought treatments, it was found that AE events and turgor changes preceded the onset of stomatal closure, whereas electrical surface potentials shifted concurrently with stomatal closure. Leaf‐level ABA concentration did not change until after stomata were closed. Roots and petioles were equally vulnerable to drought stress based on the single vessel injection technique. However, anatomical analysis of the xylem indicated that the increased AE events were not a result of xylem embolism formation. Additionally, roots and stems never reached a xylem pressure threshold that would initiate runaway embolism throughout the entire experiment.   It is concluded that stomatal closure was not embolism‐driven, but, rather, that onset of stomatal closure was most closely correlated with the hydraulic signal from changes in leaf turgor.


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