How do wood anatomical traits in Salix vary in response to flooding? A case study from the Yenisei River, Siberia

Category: Time:
Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 12:00 to 13:00
Room: URL: Speaker:
Richie Thaxton
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona
Margaret Evans & Dave Meko
Calendar Status:

Recent, record-breaking discharge in the Yenisei River, Siberia, is part of a larger trend of increasing river flow in the Arctic driven by Arctic amplification. These changes in magnitude and timing of discharge can lead to increased risk of extreme flood events, with implications for infrastructure, ecosystems, and climate. To better understand the changes taking place, it is useful to have records that help place recent hydrological changes in context. In addition to an existing network of river gauges, extreme flood events can be captured in the wood anatomical features of riparian trees, which help identify the most extreme flood events. Along the Yenisei River, Siberia we collected willow (Salix spp.) samples from a low terrace that occasionally floods when water levels are extremely high. Using these samples, we use an approach known as quantitative wood anatomy to measure variation in radial cell dimensions, particularly fiber cell wall thickness. We then compare these measurements to observed records of flood stage. We hypothesize that (1) characteristic patterns of wood fiber size and cell wall thickness in Salix rings can be quantified using QWA, and (2) these patterns are related to flood magnitude and/or duration. Understanding how riparian vegetation responds to extreme flood events can help us better manage riparian ecosystems and understand changes to the Arctic hydrological regime.