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Title: Soluble sugar composition of pond-cypress: a potential hydroecological indicator of ground water perturbations

Author: Bacchus, Sydney T.; Hamazaki, Toshihide; Britton, Kerry O.; Haines, Bruce L.

Date: 2000

Source: Journal of American Water Resources Association. 36(1): 55-65.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Pond-cypress, a deciduous conifer , is a dominant canopy species in depressional wetlands of the southeastern Coastal Plain (SCP). Extensive premature decline and death of pond-cypress trees in central Florida have been attributed to hydroperiod alterations due to excessive withdrawals of ground water from the Floridan aquifer. One factor identified in the decline process is basal decay, which may be related to the presence of Botryosphaeria rhodina and Fusarium species (nonaggressive, facultative fungal pathogens). These fungi have been cultured from sapwood tissue of declining pond-cypress associated with ground water mining, but not from pond-cypress away from ground water mining areas. In this experiment, differences in soluble (nonstructural) carbohydrate composition of branch tips were evaluated for one- and two-year old, nursery-grown (unsheltered) pond-cypress, following a year of growth under treatment conditions (control, fungal inoculation, water stress, and fungal inoculation plus water stress) in a growth chamber. Results from two methods of wet chemical analysis were compared (trimethylsilyl methylglycoside – method A, and alditol acetate – method B). Three pentoses (arabinose, rhamnose, and xylose) and three hexoses (galactose, glucose, and mannose) were identified in branch tips from both age classes. A fourth hexose (fucose) also was identified in samples from the younger trees. The acidic sugar, galacturonic acid, was identified in both age classes using method A. Results suggest that prolonged water stress is correlated with greater relative concentrations of the neutral soluble sugars rhamnose (P = 0.02), xylose (P = 0.02), and galactose (P = 0.02), in addition to the acidic sugar galacturonic acid (P = 0.01), for method A, and arabinose (P = 0.02) for method B. These results also suggest that in the absence of water stress, the fungal pathogen B. rhodina does not penetrate to the sapwood of the trees, and that inoculation with this fungal pathogen is not correlated with differences in relative concentrations of onstructural, soluble carbohydrates, based on method A analysis. Empirical evidence suggests that pond-cypress trees in depressional wetlands respond similarly to anthropogenic perturbations of ground water, but not to natural periods of drought in the absence of such perturbations. Therefore, pond-cypress appear to be integrators of groundwater perturbations. Greater concentrations of the soluble sugars identified in this study in pond-cypress branch tips may be hydroecological indicators of such anthropogenic perturbations as unsustainable yield from the regional aquifer and adverse impacts from aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) activities in the SCP.

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Bacchus, Sydney T.; Hamazaki, Toshihide; Britton, Kerry O.; Haines, Bruce L. 2000. Soluble sugar composition of pond-cypress: a potential hydroecological indicator of ground water perturbations. Journal of American Water Resources Association. 36(1): 55-65.

 


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