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Water-use efficiency and productivity in native Canadian populations of Populus trichocarpa and Populus balsamifera

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Title: Water-use efficiency and productivity in native Canadian populations of Populus trichocarpa and Populus balsamifera
Author: Pointeau, Virginie M.
Degree Master of Science - MSc
Program Forestry
Copyright Date: 2008
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2008-03-14
Subject Keywords Water-use efficiency; Nitrogen-use efficiency; Poplar; Stable carbon isotopes
Abstract: Afforestation and reforestation programs utilizing available fields for biofuel production, carbon sequestration, and other uses linked to climate change are looking to tree physiologists to identify species and genotypes best-suited to their purposes. The ideal poplar genotype for use in Canadian programs would be drought-resistant, cold-climate adapted, and fast-growing, thus requiring an understanding of links between a variety of physiological traits linked to growth and productivity. This study examined the basis for variations in water-use efficiency within four selected populations of Populus trichocarpa and Populus balsamifera (2 provenances each). Each species included both a northern and a southern provenance. Correlations between water-use efficiency, nitrogen-use efficiency, ¹³C/¹²C isotope ratio, stomatal conductance, and overall productivity were evaluated. Gas exchange variables measured included net photosynthesis, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and intercellular CO₂ content. Water-use efficiency and ¹³C content across all genotypes were highly correlated. Results suggested that variation in water-use efficiency was primarily related to variation in stomatal conductance across all genotypes. Whereas differences in net photosynthesis in this study were not significant between species, P. balsamifera did reveal a higher average stem volume overall. Although variation in stomatal conductance was the major determinant of differences in water-use efficiency, positive correlations were found between ¹³C isotope abundance and net photosynthesis in both P. balsamifera provenances. In this regard, results for the northern P. balsamifera provenance are the most consistent across all gas-exchange and growth trait correlations, in terms of meeting expectations for sink-driven water-use efficiency. The findings in this study suggest the possibility of identifying poplar genotypes with an absence of trade-off between water-use efficiency and nitrogen-use efficiency, notably among genotypes from the northern P. balsamifera provenance, near Gillam.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/587

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