Annual and perennial high-Andes species have a contrasting freezing-resistance mechanism to cope with summer frosts

Morales, Loreto, V; Alvear, Carla; Sanfuentes, Camila; Saldana, Alfredo; Sierra-Almeida, Angela


In high-mountain habitats, summer frosts have negative consequences for plant fitness, therefore high-mountain plants have developed mechanisms of avoidance and tolerance to cope with freezing temperatures. Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain the prevalence of one freezing-resistance mechanism over another, focusing on thermal conditions without a consensus. We hypothesize that the prevalence of a freezing-resistance mechanism depends on the life-history strategy of the species, and is probably the consequence of a trade-off between growth/reproduction and the cost of the mechanism. Specifically, short-lived annual species should be freezing avoidant, whereas perennial long-lived species should be freezing tolerant. We used thermal analysis to determine the mechanism of freezing resistance of leaves and flowers for 10 annual and 14 perennial herb species from an alpine ecosystem in the Central Chilean Andes. We found that 70% of the annual species, their flowers and leaves were freezing avoidant, indicating that avoidance was their predominant freezing-resistance mechanism. In the case of perennial species, both mechanisms were almost equally represented in flowers and leaves. Overall, our results showed that a species freezing-resistance mechanism depends on its life-history strategy, and that leaves and flowers of single species exhibit the same freezing resistance mechanism, suggesting a common whole plant strategy. Further, freezing resistance strategies were not found to be mutually exclusive. In some cases, a specific combination of phenological, structural, and functional strategies may determine how freezing resistant vegetative and reproductive organs are to freezing during the growing season.

Más información

Título según WOS: ID WOS:000564534300001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: ALPINE BOTANY
Volumen: 130
Número: 2
Fecha de publicación: 2020
Página de inicio: 169
Página final: 178


Notas: ISI