Stable isotopes and metabolite profiles as physiological
markers for the drought stress sensitivity

The main goal of the research project is to characterise the response of Douglas fir
provenances to drought on the physiological and biochemical level. We aim to detect
physiological and metabolic markers for drought sensitivity/tolerance of provenances.
On the on hand stable isotope techniques will be applied to characterise intrinsic
water use efficiency, stomatal reactions and transpiration patterns during current
growing seasons as well as retrospectively at sites varying in water availability and
under controlled conditions. One major focus is to characterise post-photosynthetic
changes in the carbon and oxygen isotope composition and to include these factors
into models to correctly translate isotope signals into physiological parameters.
Changes in the metabolite profiles will be characterised to (i) detected marker
metabolites for drought stress responses and to identify (ii) changes in metabolic
pathways in reaction to drought and they will be linked to changes in inter-organ
carbon partitioning. The assessment of physiological reactions and metabolic
markers functionally connects the genetic level assessments (P1 of the application
package) with phenotypic studies (P3) and assessments of ecological functions (P4).


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