• Xylem Tracheid Development in Pinus Resinosa Seedlings in Controlled Environments

      Danzer, Shelley R.; Leavitt, Steven W.; Panyushkina, Irina P.; Mergner, Andreas; Garcia, Evelyn; Best-Svob, Valeria; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Tree-Ring Society, 2001)
      Progressive tree-ring xylem cell size changes may reveal the influence of changing environment during the growing season. This study examines xylem tracheid cell growth in red pine (Pious resinosa Ait.) seedlings grown in cabinets under controlled environment, where single parameters (temperature, light, soil moisture and CO2) were varied step-wise in each chamber at ca. 30-day increments for ca. 6 months. Control and temperature treatments were replicated. Cross-sections (20 μm thick) sliced with a sliding microtome from each of four seedling stems from each cabinet were mounted on glass slides. Lumen diameters and cell-wall thickness were measured on 4 orthogonal tracheid radial files on 4 radii of each stem. Mean cell sizes were 11-17 μm among treatments and growth periods, whereas numbers of cells formed averaged 0.2-1.3 cells per day. Cell size increased throughout the experiment in most of the treatments, including one of the control treatments and those with the greatest potential to limit growth (decreasing temperature, light and soil moisture). Soil moisture was the only environmental parameter that tended to cause late declining growth, and CO, up to 500 (μmol mol⁻¹ did not appear to influence cell development. Despite a substantial range of environmental shifts in the chambers (100 μmol mol⁻¹ CO₂; 125 μEinsteins m⁻² s⁻¹ light; 8 °C temperature; 35% relative humidity; watering every day to every 5th day), the continued stem elongation and cell-size increases indicate that conditions never became significantly limiting to growth in most treatments. Although the range of environmental variability is undoubtedly much greater in most natural red pine systems, these results indicate that fairly large variations in environment during development of juvenile wood in seedlings may not leave an imprint retrievable from cell-size measurements made on the earliest rings of mature trees.