Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Acta Botanica Brasilica]]> vol. 32 num. 1 lang. <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[The influence of <em>El Niño</em> and edge effects on the reproductive phenology and floral visitors of <em>Eschweilera tetrapetala</em> Mori (Lecythidaceae), an endemic species of the Atlantic Forest of northeastern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT We compared the reproductive phenology and floral visitors of Eschweilera tetrapetala growing along the edge and in the interior of a submontane forest in the Chapada Diamantina mountains, Bahia State, Brazil. We sought to determine if there were inter-annual differences in intensity and seasonality associated with environmental conditions, and if there were differences in floral visitors between the two environmental contexts. Phenological observations were performed for three years, and included the occurrence of an El Niño event. We applied circular statistics to detect seasonal trends, performed cross correlations between phenophases and climate, Kruskal-Wallis and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests for inter-annual variation, and the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test for edge-interior differences in the species richness of floral visitors. We observed inter-annual variations in the intensity and seasonality of flower production that accompanied variations in rainfall, possibly associated with El Niño events. Floral visitor richness differed between the forest edge and interior, with seven species recorded for the interior and only one for the edge. Reduced fruit set was also observed at the forest edge. This study contributes to our understanding of the influence of El Niño and edge effects on the reproductive phenologies of tropical plants. <![CDATA[Disentangling plant establishment in sandy coastal systems: biotic and abiotic factors that determine <em>Allagoptera arenaria</em> (Arecaceae) germination]]> ABSTRACT Germination rate and establishment success of plants in harsh environments depend on the ability of seeds to withstand unfavorable environmental conditions and avoid predators. Brazilian coastal plains, known as restinga, are subject to environmental factors that seriously limit plant establishment and survival (e.g. salinity, desiccation, oligotrophy, flooding, high temperature and radiation levels). We tested, both in field and laboratory experiments, conditions for germination and establishment of Allagoptera arenaria, a palm tree often found in restinga ecosystems of southeastern Brazil, and which have a principal role in plant community dynamics. Our results showed that the absence of mesocarp, high radiation exposure, and temperature were the main drivers of seed germination. In the field, the highest germination rate was linked to nude seeds buried in open areas. High temperatures and/or predation damaged seeds that remained on the soil surface, especially if they were close to the mother plant and alongside dung piles made by dispersers. Under controlled conditions, seeds exhibited optimum germination at 35 ºC. Therefore, the germination and establishment of A. arenaria depend as much on environmental conditions as on a network of interactions including vertebrates and invertebrates, which allow this species to colonize harsh, open areas in restinga ecosystems. <![CDATA[Do seedling functional groups reflect ecological strategies of woody plant species in Caatinga?]]> ABSTRACT It is assumed that morphological traits of seedlings reflect different strategies in response to environmental conditions. The ecological significance of this has been widely documented in rainforests, where habitat structure and species interactions play an important role in community assembly. However, in seasonally dry ecosystems, where environmental filtering is expected to strongly influence community structure, this relationship is poorly understood. We investigated this relationship between functional groups of seedlings and life history traits and tested whether functional group predicts the ecological strategies employed by woody species to deal with the stressful conditions in seasonally dry ecosystems. Seedling functional groups, life history traits and traits that reflect ecological strategies for occupying seasonally dry environments were described for twenty-six plant species. Seedlings of species from the Caatinga vegetation exhibited a functional profile different from that observed in rainforests ecosystems. Phanerocotylar-epigeal seedlings were the most frequently observed groups, and had the largest range of ecological strategies related to dealing with seasonally dry environments, while phanerocotylar-hypogeal-reserve seedlings exhibited an increase in frequency with seasonality. We discuss these results in relation to those observed in other tropical forests and their ecological significance in seasonally dry environments. <![CDATA[Leaf anatomical traits of non-arboreal savanna species along a gradient of tree encroachment]]> ABSTRACT In the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado of Brazil), fire suppression has transformed typical savanna formations (TS) into forested savanna (FS) due to the phenomenon of encroachment. Under encroachment, non-arboreal plants begin to receive less light due to greater tree density and canopy closure. Here we aim to evaluate if leaf anatomical traits of non-arboreal species differ according to the degree of tree encroachment at the Assis Ecological Station - São Paulo, Brazil. To this end, we evaluated leaf tissue thickness and specific leaf area (SLA) in representative non-arboreal species occurring along a gradient of tree encroachment. Leaves of TS species showed a trend towards xeromorphism, with traits reported to facilitate survival under high luminosity, such as thick leaves, thick epidermis and mesophyll, and low SLA. In contrast, FS species exhibited mesomorphic leaves, with thin mesophyll and high SLA, which are able to capture diffuse light in denser environments. Thus, non-arboreal understory species with mesomorphic leaf traits should be favored in environments with denser vegetation in contrast to typical savanna species. The results suggest that typical non-arboreal savanna species would not survive under tree encroachment due to the low competitiveness of their leaf anatomical strategies in shady environments. <![CDATA[The effects of salinity on growth and survival of mangrove seedlings changes with age]]> ABSTRACT Six wide-ranging mangrove species, Rhizophora apiculata, R. mucronata, Avicennia marina, A. officinalis, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, and B. sexangula, were selected to study the growth and survival of seedlings under three contrasting salinity treatments over a 30-week period: low (3-5psu), moderate (15-17psu) and high (33-36psu). Seedlings grown under high salinity exhibited significantly lower performance (p&lt;0.05) in survival rates, cumulative shoot height, mean growth rates, mean total leaf area, and mean dry weight, compared to those under low and moderate salinity regimes. The low salinity treatment provided the best conditions for initial establishment and growth of the seedlings of all species until 15-20 weeks of age. However, the same seedlings showed better performance under moderate salinity after 15-20 weeks of age (shift in optimal salinity), implying that adaptation to salt and physiological needs of mangrove seedlings varies with age. These results have practical implications of use in raising up mangrove nurse species for planting since it indicates that seedlings should get low salinity water until four to five months of age and then moderately saline water, in order to achieve maximum growth and survival. <![CDATA[Is the herb-shrub composition of <em>veredas</em> (Brazilian palm swamps) distinguishable?]]> ABSTRACT Vereda (Brazilian palm swamp) is a poorly known savannic phytophysiognomy that occurs on moist soils with high herb-shrub floristic richness. This study aimed to document the herb-shrub species of veredas of the Estação Ecológica Serra Geral do Tocantins - EESGTO, and compare this flora with other veredas in Brazil. Furthermore, we assessed the similarity of the herb-shrub flora of the studied veredas with that of inventories of other savannas and grasslands in order to evaluate whether veredas possess an exclusive flora. Ordination analysis was performed to understand the floristic relationship among these areas. We recorded 213 species, 105 genera and 49 families at EESGTO, including five new floral records for the Cerrado and 78 for the state of Tocantins. The floristic similarity among veredas at EESGTO and the other sites was low. For all sites, a total of 1,324 species were recorded, of which 342 were unique to veredas and 187 unique to moist grasslands (campos limpos úmidos). After reviewing databases, 14.3 % of these species remained exclusive to veredas and moist grasslands. The ordination analysis indicated a gradient in floristic composition from wet to dry phytophysiognomies. In conclusion, we recognize a flora that distinguishes veredas from other Cerrado phytophysiognomies. <![CDATA[Araceae of Grumari restinga: contribution to the conservation of the flora of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil]]> ABSTRACT This study surveyed species of the family Araceae in Grumari restinga, located in the metropolitan region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We aimed to: i) evaluate the contribution of a single locality (Grumari restinga) to regional conservation (Rio de Janeiro State) of Araceae; and ii) compare the distribution of species of Araceae among restingas of the state. We calculated the extent of occurrence and the area of occupancy in the entire state for eight species of Araceae found in Grumari,and performed a similarity analysis among restingas. Our data demonstrate that the extent of occurrences for Anthurium augustinum, A. coriaceum and A. maricense are influenced by Grumari because this area is the boundary of their known distribution in the state. Grumari did not have an influence on the distribution of the other studied species. We found Anthurium coriaceum, A. luschnathianum and Philodendron crassinervium to exhibit unusual habits as terrestrial plants in sandy soil. The similarity analysis identified six groups of Araceae, four of which are related to the distance from adjacent forests. We demonstrated that this small conservation unit represents a key locality in the preservation of natural populations of species of Araceae in Rio de Janeiro State. <![CDATA[Physiological quality and seed respiration of primed <em>Jatropha curcas</em> seeds]]> ABSTRACT Seed deterioration is a natural and irreversible process. Nevertheless, seed priming with water and antioxidants can minimize oxidative damage in oilseeds, resulting in attenuation of seed deterioration. The objective of this assay was to evaluate seed priming on respiratory activity of Jatropha curcas submitted to accelerated aging. Seeds from two provenances (Janauba and Pedro J. Caballero) were submitted to three priming treatments (control, immersion in deionized water, and with 750 µmol L-1 of ascorbic acid) and treated for accelerated aging at 41 °C for 72 h. The results showed that the priming of J. curcas seeds promoted tolerance to accelerated aging. Primed seeds, with ascorbic acid from Janauba and deionized water from Pedro J. Caballero, resulted in a higher percentage of normal seedlings, and increased germination speed index and seed respiration. The decline of physiological quality of J. curcas seeds after accelerated aging is directly associated with a reduction in respiratory activity that is related to seed moisture content. <![CDATA[Fructan dynamics in the underground organs of <em>Chresta exsucca</em> (Asteraceae), a dry season flowering species]]> ABSTRACT Climatic seasonality has an influence on the phenology of native Cerrado plants. Herbs and subshrubs tend to flower in the rainy season, although some species of these habits flower in the dry season. Reserve carbohydrates, stored in the underground organs, are used to support phases of high energy-demand, but also may protect plants from damage during periods of environmental limitation. In this study we evaluated variation in fructan levels in the underground organs of field-grown plants of Chresta exsucca among different phenological phases. Chresta exsucca flowers in the dry season and possesses a diffuse underground system, which stores inulin-type fructans. Resprouting was continual during the sampling period. Oligosaccharide content was always higher than polysaccharide content, except during senescence, the only phase with an oligosaccharide: polysaccharide ratio &lt; 1. Fructan accumulation occurred during vegetative growth until flowering. Fructan mobilization was prominent during resprouting until the beginning of vegetative growth. Fructans stored in the underground organs of C. exsucca serve to fulfill the energetic demands of development and maintenance of this complex structure. In this way, fructans are essential to the persistence of this species in the environment of the Cerrado by ensuring reproduction in harsh conditions, such as drought. <![CDATA[Water deficit modifies the carbon isotopic composition of lipids, soluble sugars and leaves of <em>Copaifera langsdorffii</em> Desf. (Fabaceae)]]> ABSTRACT Water deficit is most frequent in forest physiognomies subjected to climate change. As a consequence, several tree species alter tissue water potential, gas exchange and production of carbon compounds to overcome damage caused by water deficiency. The working hypothesis, that a reduction in gas exchange by plants experiencing water deficit will affect the composition of carbon compounds in soluble sugars, lipids and vegetative structures, was tested on Copaifera langsdorffii. Stomatal conductance, leaf water potential, and CO2 assimilation rate declined after a period of water deficit. After rehydration, leaf water potential and leaf gas exchange did not recover completely. Water deficit resulted in 13C enrichment in leaves, soluble sugars and root lipids. Furthermore, the amount of soluble sugars and root lipids decreased after water deficit. In rehydration, the carbon isotopic composition and amount of root lipids returned to levels similar to the control. Under water deficit, 13C-enriched in root lipids assists in the adjustment of cellular membrane turgidity and avoids damage to the process of water absorption by roots. These physiological adjustments permit a better understanding of the responses of Copaifera langsdorffi to water deficit. <![CDATA[Aquatic vascular plants as handicraft: a case study in southern Brazil]]> ABSTRACT This study aimed to evaluate knowledge about and the usage and importance of aquatic vascular plants (AVPs) in the production of handicrafts by communities on the north coast of the state of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil. The snowball technique was employed to locate people who use and have knowledge regarding the use of AVPs for handicrafts. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and guided tours with 35 interviewees who were involved in artisanal activity at the time of the study. The data were analyzed using the importance value (IV) index and the consensus value for the forms of use (CMU). The Spearman correlation test (rs) was employed to determine the correlations of each social variable with the knowledge variables, and Mann-Whitney U tests to verify whether men and women exhibited differences in knowledge. The interviewees cited 16 AVPs that were employed in 17 types of handicrafts, among which the four main species were Schoenoplectus californicus, Typha domingensis, T. latifolia and Androtrichum giganteum. Interviewee age, residence time on site and time working with handicrafts were the main social parameters that described the level of knowledge and use of AVPs. These AVPs reflect cultural knowledge and complement family incomes. <![CDATA[Dynamics of miR156 and miR172 involved in the flowering of <em>Jatropha curcas</em> L.]]> ABSTRACT Jatropha curcas is a plant that accumulates high-quality oil in its seeds, which is capable of being transformed into liquid biofuel. However, several aspects of its flowering are still unknown, which is a key step in the production of fruits, seeds, and oil. Flowering is a complex process that is regulated by various factors at the molecular level, including microRNAs (miRNAs). There is evidence suggesting that the miRNAs of the miR156 and miR172 families play a key role in the flowering transition of plants. For this reason, the dynamics of miR156 and miR172 were studied during a production cycle of J. curcas. Our results reveal that J. curcas has a mechanism for the expression of these miRNAs that differs from that reported for the vast majority of angiosperms, since the expression of both families of miRNAs was positively correlated with the phenological state of J. curcas. We discuss the implications of these findings and how the regulatory mechanisms of miR156 and miR172 differ from what has been reported thus far. <![CDATA[<em>Cyrtopodium paludicolum</em> germination with two <em>Tulasnella</em> isolates]]> ABSTRACT Symbiosis between orchid seeds and mycorrhizal fungi has been reported to be a determining factor in the success of germination and protocorm development in vitro. The aim of this study was to isolate and identify by molecular analysis the mycorrhizal fungus associated with Cyrtopodium paludicolum, and to evaluate its efficiency in facilitating seed germination and development. Germination experiments were carried out using a fungus isolated from C. paludicolum (CH01) and Epidendrum secundum (M65), which has been successfully used a number of times in symbiotic germination. The experiments were conducted in a completely randomized design with treatments of CH01, M65 as well as under asymbiotic conditions. The mycobiont CH01 was successfully isolated from Cyrtopodium paludicolum and identified as Tulasnella sp. Treatments with both fungi reached a higher germination percentage than under asymbiotic conditions, indicating no specificity in the relationship between Cyrtopodium paludicolum and the fungi. The results presented have the potential to advance research into the propagation and conservation of C. paludicolum, a native of the Cerrado biome. <![CDATA[Structural features of species of Asteraceae that arouse discussions about adaptation to seasonally dry environments of the Neotropics]]> ABSTRACT Seasonally-dry environments of the Neotropics, such as the South American Chaco, exert selective pressures on vegetation through a pronounced water deficit. We describe the underground system and leaf anatomy of three species of Asteraceae from the Brazilian portion of the Chaco (Pterocaulon purpurascens Malme, Wedelia trichostephia DC., and Pectis gardneri Baker), aiming to describe their structural and adaptive features using standard plant anatomy techniques. Pterocaulon purpurascens and W. trichostephia exhibited slightly thickened xylopodia, with gemmiferous character and self-grafted stem shoots; Pectis gardneri displayed a slightly-thickened tuberous root with storage substances. Longitudinal sequences of cells with highly thickened walls forming globular protrusions were found throughout the extension of the periderm of Pectis gardneri, while senescent trichomes were found in the periderm of W. trichostephia. Schyzogenous aerenchyma was found in P. purpurascens. Aquifer cells, composing vascular rays of secondary phloem and xylem, are reported for this species. Leaves of the three species are perennial and amphistomatic, with aquifer cells in a variety of tissues. Pectis gardneri exhibits a “Kranz-type” anatomy with lignified bristles with stomata. The features described for the species play important role in water uptake and/or storage, which prevent excessive water loss during environmental or physiological stress periods. <![CDATA[Intra- and interspecific karyotypic variations of the genus <em>Senna</em> Mill. (Fabaceae, Caesalpinioideae)]]> ABSTRACT Although the chromosome number 2n = 28 predominates in most species of the genus Senna, variations are often observed, resulting from either polyploidy (2n = 42, 56, 112) or disploidy (2n = 22, 24, 26) events. To better understand the karyotypic variations in Senna, we examined heterochromatin patterns of 10 species of that genus using chromomycin A3 (CMA) and 4’6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, and reviewed information on the chromosome counts of 72 species of that genus. The CMA/DAPI banding patterns were relatively variable among the 10 species, both in terms of the numbers of bands (from two to 26) and their locations on the chromosomes (terminal or proximal regions). Our review indicated that 2n = 28 is the most common ploidy among species of Senna, although other numbers were observed, apparently due to polyploidy or disploidy events; polysomy and aneusomy were also observed. Karyotype variations appear to have contributed to the diversification and wide distribution of Senna. <![CDATA[Crop size influences pre-dispersal seed predation in the Brazilian Cerrado]]> ABSTRACT Many pre-dispersal seed predators are specialized insects that rely on seeds for larval development. These insects may respond to the amount of seeds produced by a plant (i.e. crop size), increasing the proportion of seeds damaged with increases in seed numbers. Large seeds have more resources and spend more time in plants to complete their development and are probably more prone to be preyed on by those insects than small seeds. Here I tested how crop size and seed mass influence pre-dispersal seed predation in plants from the Cerrado savannas of Brazil. I related plant crop size to pre-dispersal seed predation for Xylopia aromatica and Erythroxylum pelleterianum. A literature review was performed to test if seed mass may explain among-species differences in pre-dispersal seed predation. Pre-dispersal losses increased proportionally to crop size in the two species investigated, but some species show positive or no density-dependent seed predation in literature, indicating that seed losses are not a simple function of crop sizes. Seed mass did not explain pre-dispersal seed loss differences among 14 species with data available. Pre-dispersal losses are often small and probably less important than seed dispersal and establishment limitation for plant recruitment in Cerrado savannas. <![CDATA[Phytosociology of the herbaceous-subshrub layer of a rupestrian complex in Serra do Espinhaço, Brazil]]> ABSTRACT Rupestrian complexes of the Serra do Espinhaço are recognized for their high degree of biodiversity and endemism. However, environmental impacts, particularly from mining, have degraded these environments. The purpose of this study was to describe the herbaceous-subshrub communities that occur in quartzitic (QRC) and ferruginous (FRC) rupestrian complexes in different seasons of the year, with regard to floristic similarity and phytosociological structure. Additionally, the study aimed to identify native species with potential use for the restoration of similar degraded areas. Vegetation was sampled from plots located in the municipality of Conceição do Mato Dentro, state of Minas Gerais. Five contiguous strata of 10 × 50 m were demarcated in each environment, in which 12 plots of 2 × 1 m (2 m²) were randomly distributed, for a total of 60 plots (sample units) in each physiognomy. The studied communities exhibited few similarities and lower floristic diversity than other rupestrian complexes. Detrended correspondence analysis distinguished the communities of FRC from those of QRC. The species with the highest value of importance in FRC were Bulbostylis fimbriata and Centrosema brasilianum, while in QRC Echinolaena inflexa had the highest values, thus, making them eligible for restoration programs in similar environments. <![CDATA[Hydrogen sulfide: a new endogenous player in an old mechanism of plant tolerance to high salinity]]> ABSTRACT High salinity affects plants due to stimulation of osmotic stress. Cell signaling triggered by nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) activates a cascade of biochemical events that culminate in plant tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. For instance, the NO/H2S-stimulated biochemical events that occur in plants during response to high salinity include the control of reactive oxygen species, activation of antioxidant system, accumulation of osmoprotectants in cytosol, induction of K+ uptake and Na+ cell extrusion or its vacuolar compartmentation among others. This review is a compilation of what we have learned in the last 10 years about NO participation during cell signaling in response to high salinity as well as the role of H2S, a new player in the mechanism of plant tolerance to salt stress. The main sources of NO and H2S in plant cells is also discussed together with the evidence of interplay between both signaling molecules during response to stress.