Drought and light anatomical adaptive leaf strategies in three woody species caused by microclimatic selection at 'Evolution Canyon', Israel

Eviatar Nevo, Mariya A. Bolshakova, Gennady I. Martyn, Ludmila I. Musatenko, Konstatin M. Sytnik, Tomas PavlíČek, Alex Beharav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seven structural and morphological characteristics of leaves from three woody species (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua, and Pistacia lentiscus) were quantified for trees and shrubs from 'Evolution Canyon', Lower Nahal Oren microsite, Mount Carmel, Israel. Our results indicate overall parallel and species-specific leaf xeromorphic interslope microclimatic adaptations. Leaves of all three species from the south-facing slope (SFS) were smaller than those from the north-facing slope (NFS). Leaves of O. europaea and C. siliqua on the SFS were significantly thicker than those on the NFS due to increased thickness of the two photosynthetic parenchyma layers, the palisade and spongy layers. A similar significantly increased thickness of the spongy layer was found in leaves of P. lentiscus. The opposite trend was found in the palisade layer thickness of this species. Thicker epidermis was found in SFS as compared to NFS leaves of O. europaea and P. lentiscus, while the reverse was found in C. siliqua. Palisade cells in SFS leaves of C. siliqua and P. lentiscus were significantly longer than in leaves from the NFS, while the opposite trend was found in O. europaea. Discriminant analysis succeeded in differentiating significantly between material collected from seven stations for the three species. The results suggest microscale morphological adaptations against drought on the more arid SFS, caused presumably by climatic selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalIsrael Journal of Plant Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Avigdor Beiles, Amotz Dafni, Abraham Fahn, Eric Hallerman, Mina Weinstein-Evron, and Simcha Lev-Yadun, for comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. This work was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Science, grants nos. 4147 and 1426; the GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit GmbH, Neuherberg; the Israeli Discount Bank Chair of Evolutionary Biology, and the Ancell–Teicher Research Foundation for Genetics and Molecular Evolution.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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