Plants can't move and get out of the way when water levels become difficult to handle. Flooding and soil saturation leads to a depletion of oxygen in the soil and reduction of light and carbon dioxide availability. So how do plants deal with the stress of being flooded?
Plant responses to flooding and
Issues with too much water
Signalling and hormones
Flooding of plants
– Flooding – complete inundation of the soil and
above ground area
– Waterlogging – saturation of the soil with
One of the most common and widespread
stressors that plants must deal with
Important for planning and management of
crops and agricultural pastures
Impacts of waterlogging and
Hypoxia and anoxia of soils
Loss of nitrogen fixing bacteria
Submerged plants have reduced
– Long interconnected gas-filled
– Pathway for gas to diffuse from
leaves to roots.
– Allows aerobic respiration to
continue in the roots.
– Allows oxygenation of the soil
– Roots that grow
above the soil.
– root tips that stick
up from the soil
– Removes the shoots from
• loosening of cell walls
• Intake of water
• Synthesis of new polysaccharides
– Reduces the health of the plant
once the water level recedes
– Growing leaves and shoots more vertically.
– Helps to implement the effectiveness of shoot
– Thinner cuticles
– Physiological changes to cells
Signalling and hormones
Regulate the responses of plants to
waterlogging and flooding
Ethylene – most important
Hormones are interdependent
– Ethlyene decreases abscisic acid
concentrations which leads to an increase in
Main problems of water logging and flooding
– low oxygen in soil, gas diffusion in flooding
Avoid or tolerate
Low soil O₂ - aerenchyma formation
Flooding – shoot elongation, hyponastic
Ethylene is main regulator response to
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