Modelling the hydrodynamic resistance of bordered pits.
Previous studies of the hydrodynamics of plant stems have shown that resistance to flow through bordered pits on the side walls of tracheids makes up a significant proportion of their total resistance, and that this proportion increases with tracheid diameter. This suggests a possible reason why tracheids with a diameter above around 100 microm have failed to evolve. This possibility has been investigated by obtaining an estimate for the resistance of a single pit, and incorporating it into analytical models of tracheid resistance and wood resistivity. The hydrodynamic resistance of the bordered pits of Tsuga canadensis was investigated using large-scale physical models. The importance of individual components of the pit were investigated by comparing the resistance of models with different pore sizes in their pit membrane, and with or without the torus and border. The estimate for the resistance of a real bordered pit was 1.70x10(15) Pa s m(-3). Resistance of pits varied with morphology as might be predicted; the resistance was inversely proportional to the pore size to the power of 0.715; removing the torus reduced resistance by 28%, while removal of the torus and border together reduced it by 72%. It was estimated that in a 'typical tracheid' pit resistance should account for 29% of the total. Incorporating the results into the model for the resistivity of wood showed that resistivity should fall as tracheid diameter increases. However, to minimize resistance wider tracheids would also need to be proportionally much longer. It is suggested that the diameter of tracheids in conifers is limited by upper limits to cell length or cell volume. This limitation is avoided by angiosperms because they can digest away the ends of their cells to produce long, wide vessels composed of many short cells. (+info)
Does canopy position affect wood specific gravity in temperate forest trees?
The radial increases in wood specific gravity known in many tree species have been interpreted as providing mechanical support in response to the stresses associated with wind loading. This interpretation leads to the hypothesis that individuals reaching the canopy should (1) be more likely to have radial increases in specific gravity and (2) exhibit greater increases than individuals in the subcanopy. Wood specific gravity was determined for three species of forest trees (Acer rubrum, Fagus grandifolia and Tsuga canadensis) growing in central Massachusetts, USA. Acer rubrum shows radial increases in specific gravity, but these increases are not more pronounced in canopy trees; the other two species show a pattern of radial decreases. The degree of radial increase or decrease is influenced by tree height and diameter. Of the dominant tree species for which we have data, A. rubrum, Betula papyrifera and Pinus strobus show radial increases in specific gravity, whereas F. grandifolia, T. canadensis and Quercus rubra show decreases. The occurrence of radial increases in B. papyrifera and P. strobus, which are often canopy emergents, suggests that it is overall adaptive strategy that is important rather than position (canopy vs. subcanopy) of any individual tree. It is suggested that radial increases in specific gravity are associated with early-successional status or characteristics and decreases with late-successional status or persistence in mature forest. (+info)
Changes in stomatal frequency and size during elongation of Tsuga heterophylla needles.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The inverse relationship between the number of stomata and atmospheric CO2 levels observed in different plant species is increasingly used for reconstructions of past CO2 concentrations. To validate this relationship, the potential influence of other environmental conditions and ontogenetical development stage on stomatal densities must be investigated as well. Quantitative data on the changes in stomatal density of conifers in relation to leaf development is reported. METHODS: Stomatal frequency and epidermal cells of Tsuga heterophylla needles during different stages of budburst were measured using computerized image analysis systems on light microscope slides. KEY RESULTS: Stomata first appear in the apical region and subsequently spread basipetally towards the needle base during development. The number of stomatal rows on a needle does not change during ontogeny, but stomatal density decreases nonlinearly with increasing needle area, until about 50 % of the final needle area. The total number of stomata on the needle increases during the entire developmental period, indicating that stomatal and epidermal cell formation continues until the needle has matured completely. CONCLUSIONS: Epidermal characteristics in developing conifer needles appear to be fundamentally different from angiosperm dicot leaves, where in general leaf expansion in the final stages is due to cell expansion rather than cell formation. The lack of further change in either stomatal density or stomatal density per millimetre needle length (the stomatal characteristic most sensitive to CO2 in conifers) in the final stages of leaf growth indicates that in conifers the stage of leaf maturation would not influence CO2 reconstructions based on stomatal density. (+info)
Species diversity of polyporoid and corticioid fungi in northern hardwood forests with differing management histories.
Effects of forest management on fungal diversity were investigated by sampling fruit bodies of polyporoid and corticioid fungi in forest stands that have different management histories. Fruit bodies were sampled in 15 northern hardwood stands in northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Sampling was conducted in five old-growth stands, five uneven-age stands, three even-age unthinned stands and two even-age thinned stands. Plots 100 m x 60 m were established and 3000 m2 within each plot was sampled during the summers of 1996 and 1997. A total of 255 polyporoid and corticioid morphological species were identified, 46 (18%) of which could not be assigned to a described species. Species accumulation curves for sites and management classes differed from straight lines, although variability from year to year suggests that more than 2 y of sampling are needed to characterize annual variation. Mean species richness and diversity index values did not vary significantly by management class, although mean richness on large diameter wood (> or = 15 cm diam) varied with moderate significance. Richness values on small diameter debris varied significantly by year, indicating that a large part of year-to-year variability in total species richness is due to small diameter debris. Ten species had abundance levels that varied by management class. Two of these species. Changes in the diversity and species composition of the wood-inhabiting fungal community could have significant implications for the diversity, health and productivity of forest ecosystems. (+info)
A case study: looking at the effects of fragmentation on genetic structure in different life history stages of old-growth mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana).
We examined fine-scale genetic structure of mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) in an old-growth stand and an adjacent seedling population, with the goal of detecting the effects of fragmentation. Three hundred and six old-growth trees and 195 naturally regenerating seedlings were genotyped at 5 microsatellite loci. Genetic diversity was similar across old-growth life stages and within the clear-cut seedlings. Significant inbreeding was found in the adult class (30+ cm diameter at breast height) of old-growth seedlings and in the adjacent natural regeneration. Relatedness was significantly associated with physical distance for both the oldest age class and for regenerating seedlings in the adjacent clear-cut, whereas intermediate classes showed no such association. As intermediate classes show no isolation by distance, the associations that arise probably occur from single cohort regeneration that clearly has taken place in the clear-cut, and possibly when the oldest old-growth trees were established. Parentage analysis suggested that large-scale fragmentation, such as this clear-cut, allowed for increased long-distance seed dispersal. We conclude that long-lived tree populations can consist of a cohort mosaic, reflecting the effects of fragmentation, and resulting in a complex, age-dependent, local population structure with high levels of genetic diversity. (+info)
Predicting and understanding forest dynamics using a simple tractable model.