Ice barriers and supercooling in alpine plants

Introduction
Many temperate plant species, including alpine plant species depend at least in certain tissues on supercooling as a frost survival mechanism. Understanding of supercooling and ice barriers in plants that can be key players with respect to frost survival will get even more important under the proposed climate change.

Ice barriers and supercooling in alpine plants

Research Questions

  • Localization of ice barriers in bud tissues of alpine plants by the use of the IDTA method.
  • Effect of xylem sap composition on ice barrier properties of tissues and the supercooling ability of buds.
  • Development of anatomical ice barriers in the border tissue between supercooling vegetative or floral primordial bud tissue and shoot ice masses in woody alpine plant species.
  • Recent advances in the field of infrared technology are tiny infrared micro sensors that are suitable to record very small temperature changes. We intend to employ these sensors to determine supercooling in bud primordial tissues at temperatures lower than -25°C where the currently available methods often fail to give sufficiently high resolution.

Funding
2011-2015 FWF-Project P23681-B16 (PI: Gilbert NEUNER)

Personnel involved
Gilbert NEUNER
Edith KUPRIAN (PhD)