Persistent effects of ozone on needle water loss and wettability in Norway spruce

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Journal Article
Environmental Pollution, 1990, 63 (4), pp. 345 - 363
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Four-year-old, seed-grown trees of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) were exposed in open-top chambers to charcoal-filtered air (8 h daily mean 54 μg O3 m-3) over three consecutive summers (1986-1988). In mid-May 1988, before the third season of fumigation and more than 7 months after exposure to ozone the previous summer had terminated, daily rates of transpiration from intact shoots and water loss from excised needles were measured together with the amount of wax on the needle surface. In mid-July, 92 days after the beginning of the third year of exposure, the wettability of needles was assessed by measuring the contact angle of water droplets on the surface of needles. Exposure to 156 μg O3 m-3 resulted in a 16% increase in daily transpiration in current year's needles and a 28% increase in 1-year old needles. These effects were associated with slower stomatal closure in response to increasing water deficit in the needles previously exposed to 156 μg m-3 ozone. The long-lasting nature of such ozone-induced effects could predispose trees to drought and winter desiccation. No significant effects of ozone were found on the amount of wax covering the needle surface, but a marked increase in the wettability of needles exposed to ozone was observed. The far reaching physiological consequences of these effects in the field and the possibility that similar disturbances may contribute to the decline of high-altitude forests of Norway spruce in Europe are discussed. © 1990.
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