Gas exchange and water balance of a mistletoe species and its mangrove hosts

G. Goldstein, F. Rada, L. Sternberg, J. L. Burguera, M. Burguera, A. Orozco, M. Montilla, O. Zabala, A. Azocar, M. J. Canales, A. Celis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The gas exchange and water relations of the hemiparasite Pthirusa maritima and two its mangrove host species, Conocarpus erectus and Coccoloba uvifera, were studied in an intertidal zone of the Venezuelan coast. Carbon uptake and transpiration, leaf osmotic and total water potential, as well as nutrient content in the xylem sap and leaves of mistletoes and hosts were followed through the dry and wet season. In addition, carbon isotope ratios of leaf tissue were measured to further evaluate water use efficiency. Under similar light and humidity conditions, mistletoes had higher transpiration rates, lower leaf water potentials, and lower water use efficiencies than their hosts. Potassium content was much higher in mistletoes than in host leaves, but mineral nutrient content in the xylem sap of mistletoes was relatively low. The resistance of the liquid pathway from the soil to the leaf surface of mistletoes was larger than the total liquid flow resistance of host plants. Differences in the daily cycles of osmotic potential of the xylem sap also indicate the existence of a high resistance pathway along the vascular connection between the parasite pathway along the vascular connection between the parasite and its host. P. maritima mistletoes adjust to the different physiological characteristics of the host species which it parasitizes, thus ensuring an adequate water and carbon balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalOecologia
Volume78
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1989

Keywords

  • Carbon isotope ratios
  • Gas exchange
  • Mangrove trees
  • Mistletoes
  • Water relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

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    Goldstein, G., Rada, F., Sternberg, L., Burguera, J. L., Burguera, M., Orozco, A., Montilla, M., Zabala, O., Azocar, A., Canales, M. J., & Celis, A. (1989). Gas exchange and water balance of a mistletoe species and its mangrove hosts. Oecologia, 78(2), 176-183. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00377153