Susan Turcot’s Blog


In dialogue with postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Jehova Lourenço Jr
Département des sciences biologiques
Centre d'études de la forêt

Jehova. It looks like the dynamism of how species respond to the environmental constraints is key to understanding their strengths and weaknesses. This "continuum" is captured by the network analysis, where the interaction between the components in the system is fundamental to giving clues regarding the system functioning.

Susan: How are we listening as a society? What are the "traits" we have to make the right or wrong choices with regards to trait centrality and the strength of correlation in the cells of trees which are adapting and those which are not.

Jehova: Very interesting! I like this idea. Ultimately, the traits (or attributes) we have given more importance to, or that are more central, seems to reflect the choices we have made and define the status quo of our society. Plant traits and centrality is the outcome of natural selection acting on plants. The hydraulic designs are just like lapitated diamonds. Jack pine, balsam fir, black spruce... and thousands more have strived over time. But what about us? What has been central for our society? Do these influences repair or destroy our social networks?

Susan: It seems that if you looks to indigenous cultures around the world their adaptations to the land they inhabited/inhabit were largely very successful.
If we look around us now, outside of these cultures, our attention to our environment, the state of the soil, the air and of the water that nourishes all beings, it is clear that the/our predominant trait centrality does not support population survival..What trait centrality will need to become visible if we are to survive?

A cell being the smallest unit of a living thing is the basic building block of all organisms, the health of the community of trees, the individual tree, as you say begins with the health of the cell.

Your research indicates that the hydraulics of the cellular structure of the jack pine is advanced for its survival in a drying climate. It can plug water very successfully, so with drying soils it is able to still power water up to the leaves by funnelling the water through a smaller amount of channels rather than loosing the momentum part way up through several channels as is the case in other pines.
Looking at the cells of the jack pine is like looking at an inspiring diagram for future survival but its hydraulic design is not shared by other pines who will struggle to survive.
How quickly can trait centrality be adapted?

Susan : Two major factors influence the rate of water flow from the SOIL to the ROOTS: the HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY of the soil and the STRENGTH OF THE PRESSURE GRADIENT .
Therefore, the more degraded and dry the soil is the harder it is for it to be a good CONDUCTOR resulting in the weakening of the cells.

Jehova: Yes. If the soil degradation impacts water and nutrient availability, this is very challenging for plants, which requires high versatility to cope with these several environmental stressors.

Susan: Maybe as the jack pine often grows in poor soil it has developed better water conservation ?

Jehova:Yes. I think jack pine evolved a high capacity to grow in contrasting environments, likely challenging for other species.

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