Embolism repair, refilling and recovery: A synthesis of structures, processes & trade-offs involved in refilling, a comparison of methodological strengths and weaknesses
In order to expand our understanding of how some trees avoid mortality, we need to understand how they recover from drought stress. Some plants have a strategy of ‘recovery’ rather than ‘avoidance’, coming remarkably close to hydraulic failure, and yet recovering. Embolism refilling has been described in many studies, yet we lack understanding of why it occurs in some plants and not others. Recent research has described mechanistic processes and structures involved in embolism refilling. However, debate remains over how and when trees can refill embolism under negative water potential, and this talk discusses which methods are appropriate for studying embolism formation and its reversal.
We synthesise the current understanding of how embolism recovery is measured, compare strengths and weaknesses of various methods of measuring embolism refilling, and describe precautions suggested to avoid artifacts.
This talk describes structures and processes that facilitate embolism recovery, and presents a conceptual framework describing how vulnerability curves may shift as plants recover. Finally, we described where refillers lie in hydraulic space, the need to add ‘recovery’ to the safety-efficiency spectrum, and how to model recovery.