Modelling reveals endogenous osmotic adaptation of storage tissue water potential as an important driver determining different stem diameter variation patterns in the mangrove species Avicennia marina and Rhizophora stylosa

Maurits W. Vandegehuchte, Adrien Guyot, Michiel Hubeau, Tom De Swaef, David Anthony Lockington, Kathy Steppe

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Background Stem diameter variations are mainly determined by the radial water transport between xylem and storage tissues. This radial transport results from the water potential difference between these tissues, which is influenced by both hydraulic and carbon related processes. Measurements have shown that when subjected to the same environmental conditions, the co-occurring mangrove species Avicennia marina and Rhizophora stylosa unexpectedly show a totally different pattern in daily stem diameter variation. Methods Using in situ measurements of stem diameter variation, stem water potential and sap flow, a mechanistic flow and storage model based on the cohesion-tension theory was applied to assess the differences in osmotic storage water potential between Avicennia marina and Rhizophora stylosa. Key results Both species, subjected to the same environmental conditions, showed a resembling daily pattern in simulated osmotic storage water potential. However, the osmotic storage water potential of R. stylosa started to decrease slightly after that of A. marina in the morning and increased again slightly later in the evening. This small shift in osmotic storage water potential likely underlaid the marked differences in daily stem diameter variation pattern between the two species. Conclusions The results show that in addition to environmental dynamics, endogenous changes in the osmotic storage water potential must be taken into account in order to accurately predict stem diameter variations, and hence growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-676
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Avicennia marina
  • dendrometer
  • endogenous control
  • Functional-structural modelling
  • growth
  • mangrove
  • mechanistic model
  • osmotic regulation
  • osmotic water potential
  • plant water relations
  • Rhizophora stylosa
  • sap flow
  • stem diameter variation

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