Intraspecific variation in growth and allocation patterns in seedlings of Pinus pinaster Ait. submitted to contrasting watering regimes: can water availability explain regional variation? uri icon


  • Here, we raise the question whether water availability constitutes a likely driver of regional variation in biomass allocation, growth and morphological traits of ten populations that cover the distribution range of P. pinaster. We carried out an experiment where seedlings of five families per population were submitted to two contrasting watering treatments.
  • Interpopulation variation in key functional traits of Pinus pinaster Ait. is well recognized. However, the relative importance of drought tolerance to explain this regional variation in the species remains elusive.
  • The effects of water availability and population were significant for relative diameter and height growth rate, biomass allocation and number of lateral stems and dwarf shoots. Total dry mass significantly differed between watering treatments but it did not among populations. Populations could be clustered into four main groups. Root mass fraction explained most of the variation and significantly correlated to altitude but not to aridity.
  • The geographical pattern of genetic variation found in morphology and biomass allocation did not translate into population differences in drought tolerance or phenotypic plasticity to water availability, indicating that water availability is not a likely driver of the regional variation observed in the studied traits of P. pinaster at the seedling stage.

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010