While it’s common knowledge that trees grow when days start to become longer in the springtime and stop growing when days become shorter in the fall, exactly how this happens has not been well understood.
Now, scientists using the Canadian Light Source are offering insights into the mechanisms of how certain cells in the winter buds of Norway spruce respond to changes in seasonal light, affecting growth. The research was published in Frontiers in Plant Science.
Such knowledge allows for better predictions of how trees might respond to climate change, which could bring freezing temperatures while daylight is still long or warmer temperatures when daylight is short.
Professor Jorunn E. Olsen and YeonKyeong Lee, plant scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, along with colleagues from the University of Saskatchewan investigated winter bud cells from Norway spruce and how they differ with respect to the amount of daylight to which they were exposed.
Image (from left to right, extract): plant with terminal winter bud after short day exposure for three weeks; plant with brown bud scales after short day exposure for eight weeks; plant showing bud break and new growth three weeks after re-transfer to long days following eight weeks under short days. Entire picture here.