Photoprotective isoprenoids as physiological markers for the
adaptation of Douglas fir to drought stress and climate change

The aim of this study is to determine the diversity of isoprenoid-related mechanisms
of drought tolerance in Douglas fir. Essential isoprenoids such as carotenoids,
absicic acid and xanthophylls are present in all green organisms whereas non-
essential isoprenoids are common in numerous but not in all plant species. The latter
include volatile compounds such as isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
Besides other functions, non-essential isoprenoids are assumed to possess
antioxidative properties, mediating protection against oxidative stress such as
drought stress or stress by high temperatures. In this study we will analyse patterns
and magnitude of volatile isoprenoid emissions by four Douglas fir provenances and
elucidate the production of essential isoprenoids (being downstream of the
biosynthetic pathway) in the same trees. By using provenances which have
evolutionary adapted to contrasting environments, we will be able to relate isoprenoid
emission patterns and formation of essential isoprenoids to provenance specific
adaptive mechanisms of drought/high temperature tolerance. For this purpose we will
use 50 year old trees in the field from large provenance-trials as well as seedlings
derived through controlled selfing from the respective provenances in experiments
simulating drought.


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