Relationships among RNA : DNA ratio, growth and elemental stoichiometry in mangrove trees

Reef, Ruth, Ball, Marilyn C., Feller, Ilka C. and Lovelock, Catherine E. (2010) Relationships among RNA : DNA ratio, growth and elemental stoichiometry in mangrove trees. Functional Ecology, 24 5: 1064-1072. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2435.2010.01722.x

Author Reef, Ruth
Ball, Marilyn C.
Feller, Ilka C.
Lovelock, Catherine E.
Title Relationships among RNA : DNA ratio, growth and elemental stoichiometry in mangrove trees
Journal name Functional Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0269-8463
Publication date 2010-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2010.01722.x
Open Access Status
Volume 24
Issue 5
Start page 1064
End page 1072
Total pages 9
Editor Charles W. Fox
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher British Ecological Society/Blackwell Scientific Publications
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
060203 Ecological Physiology
Formatted abstract
1. Growth rate is a fundamental property of organisms. In trees, growth is indeterminate and varies in space and time depending on resource availability, genetic constraints, competition and stress from biotic and abiotic environmental factors.
2. The ratio between the abundance of RNA and DNA in the tissue has been used to indicate recent growth rates in many systems, but not for trees. We assessed the applicability of using RNA : DNA ratios for assessing intraspecific and interspecific differences in growth rates in two species of mangrove trees under field conditions. We manipulated growth by fertilizing mangrove trees over a period of 4 years and measured tree growth as increments in linear extension of tagged shoots. The C, N and P contents per unit biomass were measured to test the hypothesis that faster growing organisms require more P per unit biomass (the Growth Rate Hypothesis).
3. We found that interspecific differences in the RNA : DNA ratio clearly reflected the difference in shoot elongation rates between the species. Intraspecific differences in RNA : DNA were significantly correlated with growth rates only for Avicennia marina and not for Ceriops australis. C : N and C : P ratios were lower in trees with higher growth rates and exhibited a negative correlation with RNA : DNA ratios.
4. Our results indicate that RNA : DNA ratios can reliably predict interspecific differences in growth rates between the two mangrove species and that RNA : DNA ratios can be used as an indication of variation in growth rate for Avicennia marina. The interaction between C : N : P ratios, RNA : DNA ratios and growth rates supported the Growth Rate Hypothesis on an interspecific level, but not on an intraspecific level.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society
Keyword C : N : P
Growth rate hypothesis
Shoot elongation
Biological stoichiometry
Nutritional condition
Nutrient dynamics
RNA/DNA ratios
Atlantic cod
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Mon, 05 Jul 2010, 11:52:09 EST by Joni Taylor on behalf of Centre for Marine Studies