Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart KG · New York
Environmental Constraints on Phenology and Internal Nutrient Cycling in the Mediterranean Winter-Deciduous Shrub Amelanchier ovalis Medicus
Received: June 8, 2004
Accepted: December 6, 2004
09. Februar 2005 (online)
The functional adjustments of winter-deciduous perennials to Mediterranean conditions have received little attention. The objectives of this study were: (i) to determine whether Amelanchier ovalis, a winter-deciduous shrub of Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean regions, has nutritional and phenological traits in common with temperate zone deciduous trees and shrubs and (ii) to determine the constraints of Mediterranean environmental conditions on these traits. Over two years, phenology and nitrogen, and phosphorus concentrations were monitored monthly in the crown of A. ovalis. Leaf longevity, survival and nutrient resorption from senescing leaves were used to infer nutrient use efficiency and retention times of nutrients within the crown. In A. ovalis, bud burst was much earlier than in temperate deciduous trees and shrubs. Most vegetative and reproductive growth occurred in spring. Limited phenological development took place during the summer drought period. Unexpectedly, leaf shedding was very gradual, which might be related to water shortages in summer. Leaf longevity, nutrient resorption from senescing leaves, and maximum leaf nutrient concentrations indicated that nutrient retention times were short and nutrient use efficiency was low compared to that found in temperate deciduous plants and co-occurring Mediterranean evergreens. A. ovalis exhibited phenological development appropriate for a Mediterranean climate, although its limited ability to retain nutrients likely restricts the types of sites that it can occupy.
Mediterranean climate - nutrient retention time - phenology - winter-deciduous - Amelanchier ovalis.
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