Organization of leaf vascular system and gas exchange in seedlings of Guazuma ulmifolia Lam. in different light conditions
In tropical forests, different physiological characteristics of leaves in tree species are evidenced by variations in different incident light conditions. We aim to evaluate gas exchange and organization of leaf vascular system in Guazuma ulmifolia Lam. seedlings under different light conditions. Seedlings were obtained from seeds germinated under greenhouse conditions with controlled environment. Ninety days after germination, seedlings in 8kg pots were transferred to the experimental site to allow acclimatization under sun and shade conditions. The experimental design was completely randomized, with two treatments: full sunlight and artificial shading, limiting the luminosity to about 5% of irradiance. Seedlings were maintained under these conditions for 120 days before measuring gas exchange parameters. We measured photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, sub-stomatic CO2 concentration, transpiration, and chlorophyll content. Anatomical analysis measured distance between veins, distance from veins to abaxial epidermis, distance from veins to adaxial epidermis, distance from veins to stomata, total leaf thickness, abaxial epidermis thickness, adaxial epidermis thickness, palisade parenchyma thickness, and spongy parenchyma thickness of foliar gas exchange of G. ulmifolia which presented significant differences between light environments. Photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance were reduced by 78% and 39%, respectively, in shade, while stomatal conductance increased by 31% in full sunlight. Transpiration showed no significant difference between the two treatments, but chlorophyll content was 30% lower in full sunlight. Distance between veins and distance from veins to stomata showed no difference between treatments, but the other parameters increased in full sunlight. Thus, the results showed that the pioneer species G. ulmifolia presented leaf gas exchange acclimated to environments with high luminosity.
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