Salt management strategy defines the stem and leaf hydraulic characteristics of six mangrove tree species

Guo Feng Jiang, Uromi Manage Goodale, Yan Yan Liu, Guang You Hao, Kun Fang Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Mangroves in hypersaline coastal habitats are under constant high xylem tension and face great risk of hydraulic dysfunction. To investigate the relationships between functional traits and salt management, we measured 20 hydraulic and photosynthetic traits in four salt-Adapted (SA) and two non-SA (NSA) mangrove tree species in south China. The SA species included two salt secretors (SSs), Avicennia marina (Forsskal) Vierhapper and Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco and two salt excluders (SEs), Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L.) Savigny and Kandelia obovata (L.) Sheue et al. The two NSA species were Hibiscus tiliaceus (L.) and Pongamia pinnata (L.) Merr. Extremely high xylem cavitation resistance, indicated by water potential at 50% loss of xylem conductivity (Ψ50; -7.85 MPa), was found in SEs. Lower cavitation resistance was observed in SSs, and may result from incomplete salt removal that reduces the magnitude of xylem tension required to maintain water uptake from the soil. Surprisingly, the NSA species, P. pinnata, had very low Ψ50 (-5.44 MPa). Compared with NSAs, SAs had lower photosynthesis, vessel density, hydraulic conductivity and vessel diameter, but higher sapwood density. Eight traits were strongly associated with species' salt management strategies, with predawn water potential (ΨPD) and mean vessel diameter accounting for 95% flow (D95) having the most significant association; D95 separated SAs from NSAs and SEs had the lowest ΨPD. There was significant coupling between hydraulic traits and carbon assimilation traits. Instead of hydraulic safety being compromised by xylem efficiency, mangrove species with higher safety had higher efficiency and greater sapwood density (ΡSapwood), but there was no relationship between ΡSapwood and efficiency. Principal component analysis differentiated the species of the three salt management strategies by loading D, D95 and vessel density on the first axis and loading ΨPD, Ψ50 and water potential at 12% loss of xylem conductivity (Ψ12), ΡSapwood and quantum yield on the second axis. Our results provide the first comparative characterization of hydraulic and photosynthetic traits among mangroves with different salt management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-401
Number of pages13
JournalTree Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavitation resistance
  • Hydraulic efficiency
  • Hydraulic safety
  • Salt adaptation
  • Salt exclusion
  • Salt secretion.


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