Leaf anatomical changes in Populus trichocarpa, Querem rubra, Pseudotsuga menziesii and Punis ponderosa exposed to enhanced ultraviolet-B radiation

Linda M. Nagel, John H. Bassman, Gerald E. Edwards, Ronald Robberecht, Vincent R. Franceshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Leaf anatomical characteristics are important in determining the degree of injury sustained when plants are exposed to natural and enhanced levels of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation (280-320 nm). The degree to which leaf anatomy can adapt to the increasing levels of UV-B radiation reaching the earth's surface is poorly understood in most tree species. We examined four tree species, representing a wide range of leaf anatomical characteristics, to determine responses of leaf area, specific leaf weight, and leaf tissue parameters after exposure to ambient and enhanced levels of UV-B radiation. Seedlings were grown in a greenhouse with photosynthetically active radiation of 39 mol m-2 day-1 and under one of three daily irradiances of biologically effective UV-B radiation (UV-BBE) supplied for 10 h per day: (1) approximate ambient level received at Pullman, Washington on June 21 (1 × ); two times ambient (2 × ), or three times ambient (3 × ). We hypothesized the response of each species to UV-B radiation would be related to inherent anatomical differences. We found that the conifers responded anatomically to nearly an equal degree as the broad-leaved trees, but that different tissues were involved. Populus trichocarpa, an indeterminate broadleaf species, showed significantly thicker palisade parenchyma in recently mature leaves at the 3 × level and in older leaves under the 2 × level. In addition, individual leaf area was generally greater with increased UV-B irradiance. Quercus rubra, a semi-determinate broadleaf species, exhibited significantly thicker palisade parenchyma at the 2 x and 3 x levels as compared to controls. Psuedotsuga menziesii, an evergreen coniferous species with bifacially flattened needles, and Pinus ponderosa, an evergreen coniferous species with a complete hypodermis, showed no significant change in leaf area or specific leaf weight under enhanced UV-B radiation. Epidermal thickness was unchanged in P. menziesii. However, P. ponderosa increased the thickness and number of hypodermal layers produced, presumably decreasing penetration of UV-B radiation into the leaf. We concluded that differences in inherent leaf anatomy of the four species examined are important in the responses to enhanced levels of UV-B radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

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