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Technical note: Common ambiguities in plant hydraulics

Wang, Yujie and Frankenberg, Christian (2022) Technical note: Common ambiguities in plant hydraulics. Biogeosciences, 19 (19). pp. 4705-4714. ISSN 1726-4189. doi:10.5194/bg-19-4705-2022.

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Plant hydraulics gains increasing interest in plant ecophysiology and vegetation modeling. However, the hydraulic properties and profiles are often improperly represented, thus leading to biased results and simulations, e.g., the neglection of gravitational pressure drop results in overestimated water flux. We highlight the commonly seen ambiguities and/or misunderstandings in plant hydraulics, including (1) the distinction between water potential and pressure, (2) differences among hydraulic conductance and conductivity, (3) xylem vulnerability curve formulations, (4) model complexity, (5) stomatal-model representations, (6) bias from analytic estimations, (7) whole-plant vulnerability, and (8) neglected temperature dependencies. We recommend careful thinking before using or modifying existing definitions, methods, and models.

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URLURL TypeDescription
Wang, Yujie0000-0002-3729-2743
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Additional Information:We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of Eric and Wendy Schmidt (by recommendation of the Schmidt Futures) and the Heising-Simons Foundation. We benefit from the discussion with Tom Buckley on the proper usages of water potential and water pressure. This research has been supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Carbon Cycle Science,​​​​​​​ grant no. 80NSSC21K1712). Code availability. Simulations of the results in Figs. 2–5 were done using a registered Julia package PlantHydraulics.jl (v0.2.13). Code used for the simulations can be found at CaltechDATA (, Wang, 2022). Data availability. No data sets were used in this article. Author contributions. YW conceived the idea. YW and CF prepared the results and wrote the paper. The contact author has declared that none of the authors has any competing interests.
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Issue or Number:19
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221017-11591700.9
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117450
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:18 Oct 2022 22:01
Last Modified:18 Oct 2022 22:01

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