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Type: Journal article
Title: Variation in leaf wax n-alkane characteristics with climate in the broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
Author: Andrae, J.
McInerney, F.
Tibby, J.
Henderson, A.
Hall, P.
Marshall, J.
McGregor, G.
Barr, C.
Greenway, M.
Citation: Organic Geochemistry, 2019; 130:33-42
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0146-6380
Statement of
Jake W. Andrae, Francesca A. McInerney, John Tibby, Andrew C.G. Henderson, P. Anthony Hall, Jonathan C. Marshall, Glenn B. McGregor, Cameron Barr, Margaret Greenway
Abstract: In higher plants, leaf waxes provide a barrier to non-stomatal water loss, and their composition varies both between and within species. Characteristics of n-alkanes, a suite of ubiquitous compounds in these waxes, are thought to be influenced by the availability of water and the temperature in a plant’s growing environment. Longer n-alkane distributions with less variability in chain length are hypothesised to confer greater resistance to non-stomatal water loss and thus are expected in higher abundance in desiccating environments. Relationships between the distribution of n-alkanes and both precipitation and temperature have previously been observed. Despite this, it is unclear whether n-alkane chain length distributions vary plastically in response to climate, or whether they are fixed within populations in different climate settings. To better understand this, we examine the relationship between n-alkane characteristics of Melaleuca quinquenervia and both spatial and temporal climate variation. Across eastern Australia, we find that n-alkane homolog concentrations and distributions in leaves of M. quinquenervia do not vary with climate where samples are proximate, even when climate shows significant variability. However, the concentration and distribution of n-alkane homologs do differ considerably between geographically separated populations in very different climate regimes. These results suggest n-alkane characteristics are not a plastic response to climate variability, and instead are likely fixed and could be driven by genetic differences between populations. This has important implications for the use of n-alkane characteristics as palaeoenvironmental proxies.
Keywords: Leaf wax n-alkanes; chain length distribution; precipitation; temperature; Melaleuca quinquenervia
Rights: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0030110931
DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2019.02.004
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Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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