Plant developmental stage influences responses of Pinus strobiformis seedlings to experimental warming

Ehren Reid Von Moler, Thomas Kolb, Anne Brady, Briana Nicole Palmiero, Taylor Robert Wallace, Kristen Marie Waring, Amy Vaughn Whipple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Seedling emergence, survival, morphological and physiological traits, and oxidative stress resistance of southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis Engelm.) were studied in response to warming treatments applied during embryogenesis, germination, and early seedling growth. Daytime air temperature surrounding cones in tree canopies was warmed by +2.1°C during embryo development. Resulting seeds and seedlings were assigned to three thermal regimes in growth chambers, with each regime separated by 4°C to encompass the wide range of temperatures observed over space and time across the species’ range, plus the effect of heat waves coupled with a high carbon emissions scenario of climate warming. The embryo warming treatment reduced percent seedling emergence in all germination and growth environments and reduced mortality of seedlings grown in the warmest environment. Warm thermal regimes during early seedling growth increased subsequent seedling resistance to oxidative stress and transpirational water use. Experimental warming during seed development, germination, and seedling growth affected seedling emergence and survival. Oxidative stress resistance, morphology, and water relations were affected only by warming imposed during germination and seedling growth. This work explores potential outcomes of climate warming on multiple dimensions of seedling performance and uniquely illustrates that plant responses to heat vary with plant developmental stage in addition to the magnitude of temperature change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-164
Number of pages17
JournalPlant-Environment Interactions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • acclimation
  • chlorophyll fluorescence
  • climate change
  • embryogenesis
  • growth tradeoffs
  • heat wave
  • in situ warming
  • oxidative stress
  • pine
  • seedling
  • water relations physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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